Solomon Islands, Fiji form business council


In what is an encouraging symbol of growing intra island trade and commerce, businesspeople of two Melanesian neighbouring countries have formed a business council to further their mutual trade interests.<!--more-->

The business council, called the Fiji-Solomon Islands Business Council, was formally established last week. Welcoming the formation of the new council, Fiji’s non-resident High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Romanu Tikotikoca said the number of Fijian business houses operating out of Honiara had risen from just 7 in 2005 to 28 this year. This shows the level of cooperation and trade between the two countries, he said.

The establishing of the council is expected to strengthen trade and development relations between the two countries. There has been a steady increase in the number of Fijians working in the Solomon Islands over the past few years in such activities as security, trading, construction and transportation, besides others.

Among Fijian businesses with a presence in the Solomon Islands are Punjas, FMF and CJ Patel, to name only a few, employing more than 1000 locals and Fijian expatriates.

Some 500 Fijians live in the Solomon Islands not including students. This number is expected to grow even further as the movement of skilled labour between the countries gathers momentum under the recently ratified Melanesian Spearhead Group Skilled Labour Movement initiative.