Intra-Melanesian trade looking up


<p style="text-align: justify;">Resource rich Melanesian countries are investing in each other, which indeed is an encouraging sign for intra-regional trade.<!--more--></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Last month the Papua New Guinea Investment Promotion Authority said the number of foreign investments from PNG registered in the Solomon Islands up to June have now increased to 44.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">These comprise business entities in the financial, agricultural, mining, telecommunication, accommodation, fishing, retail and wholesale and commercial services sectors, according to the authority’s communiqué.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">With the volume of business set to grow and more investment flows predicted, he two countries are contemplating a double tax avoidance treaty as well as an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, with a view toward ensuring the safety of private sector investment in both countries.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Meanwhile, both countries have been in the news for showing serious efforts in bringing in reforms regulating their mining sectors to better reflect their respective socio-political realities, with a greater say in mineral exploration matters to local landowners and bringing in a stricter environment conservation regime.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">PNG’s new government has already made a statement to this effect, covered in last week’s <strong><span style="color: #000000;">Pacific Periscope</span></strong> (click <a title="PNG set to revamp mineral resources regulation" href=""><strong>HERE</strong></a> to read).</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Last week, Solomon Islands Finance Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo endorsed the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) at the EITI regional conference in East Timor. This is confirmation of the commitment he had made to the country along with Mines Minister Moses Garu in mid August in which he also said the country would introduce a “resources tax framework” so people could benefit from the exploitation of their national mineral wealth.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The Solomon Islands is the 59th country to sign the EITI, which is an agreement between governments, companies, civil society groups, investors and international organisations committing to responsible mining activities with the aim of alleviating poverty, while carrying on the activity sustainably.</p>
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