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Objective

The objective of the National Trade Development Council (NTDC) is to oversee the process of trade development from start to finish. This includes the formulation of trade policy, the mainstreaming of trade into national development plans and securing the effective coordination and buy-in among various government institutions, the private sector, civil society and other stakeholders in Solomon Islands. In addition, the NTDC shall act as the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) National Steering Committee and monitor the EIF implementation process.

Functions of the Council

The NTDC has a number of functions including to:

  • provide support to and monitor the progress of the mainstreaming of trade into national development plans/strategies and sector specific plans

  • provide a formal platform for the consolidation of national consultations on trade-related issues and the formulation of trade policy and national positions in trade negotiations

  • allow for effective cooperation and dialogue between all key national stakeholders in trade and provide a forum where stakeholders can discuss and consider options to address trade-related issues including supply side constraints, trade facilitation, trade-related infrastructure, market access, trade-related regulations and trade-related adjustments

  • discuss and identify priorities in the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) as well as issues to be taken into account in the updating of the DTIS

  • raise awareness of trade-related issues, including the development of national and sectoral policies and strategies, negotiations, legislative reform and availability of technical and other forms of assistance, and

  • coordinate and encourage linkages between existing trade-related committees/working groups and their activities.

In the context of the EIF, the NTDC is also required to:

  • based on proposals from the National Implementation Unit (NIU), approve EIF Tier 1 and Tier 2 projects, in consultation with the Donor Facilitator and the Focal Point

  • prioritise and decide Tier 2 project proposals for funding available under the EIF Trust Fund or other bilateral or multilateral aid for trade programmes

  • ensure that trade-related issues are included and receive due attention in donors' conferences and meetings, such as donor working group meetings and roundtable meeting

  • establish focussed working groups/committees/task forces where necessary in line with DTIS recommendations and other emerging trade-related issues

  • oversee the work of the NIU including the review of biannual reports, and

  • monitor the implementation of the DTIS recommendations and action matrix.

As chair of the NTDC, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, is responsible for presenting to Cabinet the work of the NTDC on an annual basis, or as and when required.

Membership of the NTDC is extensive to cover the large number of stakeholders within Solomon Islands.

The NTDC consists of representatives from:

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET)

  • Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration (MCILI) – Export and Marketing Division

  • MCILI – Industrial Development Division

  • MCILI – Foreign Investment Division

  • MCILI – Consumer Affairs Division

  • MCILI – Business and Cooperatives Division

  • Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT) – Customs and Excise Division

  • MoFT – Economic Reform Unit

  • Ministry of Health and Medical Resources (MHMR) – Environmental Health Division

  • Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) – Quarantine Division

  • MAL – Planning Division

  • Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination (MDPAC)

  • Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR)

  • Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MCT)

  • Ministry of Forestry (MFR)

  • Office of the Prime Minister (PMO)

  • Ministry of Infrastructure and Development (MID)

  • Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI)

  • Solomon Islands Small and Medium Enterprises Council

  • Association of Solomon Islands Manufacturers

  • Business Council of Solomon Islands

  • Solomon Islands Women in Business Association

  • Civil Society Representative (Development Services Exchange)

  • Commodities Export Marketing Authority (CEMA)

  • Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI)

New members may be admitted upon agreement of the Council. Non-members may request to join or be invited to join individual meetings by the NIU, where appropriate.

All institutions represented on the Council are requested to nominate one representative as an official Council member and one as an alternative Council member. The official Council member will be identified as the ‘Focal Point’ for each individual stakeholder on trade issues. Wherever possible, the official Council member, or in their absence, the alternative Council member, shall attend all meetings. This ensures consistency and continuity and allows for issues to be progressed in an efficient and timely manner. Member institutions are responsible for communicating the withdrawal of existing Council members and the nomination of new Council members. Members are responsible for briefing the institutions/organisations/membership that they are representing.

Wherever possible, members are selected based on their understanding of trade-related issues and the relevance of their work to trade. Members should have sufficient authority to represent their institutions and be in a position to ensure that the decisions taken at meetings are passed on to the relevant officials for actioning and that the necessary information and feedback is collected ahead of the next meeting. In the case of government agencies, members should preferably hold the position of Head of Department, Under-Secretary or Permanent Secretary.

Chairperson

The NTDC is chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade. The Vice Chair and the Co-Vice Chair of the Council are elected by the Council every two years and are responsible for chairing meetings in the absence of the Chairperson unless the Chairperson appoints a specific person to chair meetings of the Council. The Vice Chair shall be from the Public Sector and the Co-Vice Chair shall be from the Private Sector.

Convening of Meetings

Meetings of the NTDC are convened by the Chairperson of the Council or by the Vice Chairperson/Co-Vice Chair in the absence of the Council Chairperson upon recommendation by the National Implementation Unit.

Frequency of Meetings

The frequency of meetings of the NTDC is determined primarily on a needs basis. The Council shall however meet at least once every three months.

Reporting

The NTDC reports to Cabinet through the Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, as and when determined necessary by the Council, but no less than once a year.

Administration and Resourcing

The NTDC requires administrative support. The Department of External Trade (DET) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade acts as the Focal Point of the NTDC and performs the role of the Secretariat, through the EIF National Implementation Unit, located within the DET. The NIU carries out all the administrative work of the NTDC.

The NIU prepares a report for the NTDC on a biannual basis. The report includes progress on the implementation of the DTIS and other trade-related activities. Contact person(s) in the EIF NIU are the Chief Trade Officer/NIU Coordinator or TA Counter-Part.

Review and Evaluation

On an annual basis the NTDC undertakes a review of its activities, evaluates its effectiveness and makes recommendations for its continuous improvement.