Ambassador Salato pays courtesy visit to the General Administrations of Customs of China

Ambassador Salato pays courtesy visit to the General Administrations of Customs of China

The Solomon Islands Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency, Barrett Salato paid a courtesy visit to the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) on Tuesday morning (19 March 2024).

The purpose of H.E Salato’s visit was to demonstrate Solomon Islands’ commitment to further strengthen, enhance, and expand Solomon Islands trade relation with China, with the aim of diversifying our exports base away from the forest (log) products.

In 2022 China had offered Solomon Islands duty-free access to its huge market at 98% product coverage, which is equivalent to more than 8,000 products eligible for zero percent import duty.

While Solomon Islands may not be able to utilize all of the 8,000 products, the country’s potential lies on developing and exporting our agriculture and fisheries products. However, in order for our agriculture and fisheries products to enter Chinese market and qualify for duty free access, both parties have to agree and conclude sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) import protocols.

H.E Salato uses his meeting with Director General Zhou to acknowledge the good progress made by both parties in negotiating different SPS import protocols and to highlight the need to expedite their completion in a favorable timeframe.

Both H.E Salato and Director General Zhou highlighted the achievement made last year on the signing of the first SPS protocol on coconut oil cake witnessed by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Premier Li Qiang, and welcomes the recent progress made by

GACC in providing three additional draft SPS protocols for wild aquatic products, cultured aquatic products, and ginger, turmeric and chilly products.

The dialogue exchange between H.E Salato and Director General, Mr. Zhou Wenyi

Director General Zhou assured H.E Salato of his department’s commitment to fulfill the wishes of both governments to strengthen our bilateral trade relation, and encourages Solomon Islands to quickly address different technical requirements in the various draft SPS protocols so that progress toward their completion can be expedited.

Zhou added that both sides have progressed on the economic cooperation and expressed that GACC will use the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership framework featuring Mutual Respect and Common Development for a New Era signed by Hon. Sogavare and President Xi Jinping in 2023 to advance customs cooperation and development with Solomon Islands.

The GACC team that met with Ambassador Salato were from different departments within the Customs Administration, namely the International Cooperation Department, Import and Export Food Safety Bureau and the Animal and Plant Quarantine Department. In his statement during the dialogue, Mr. Zhou also emphasized that China and Solomon Islands are trustworthy friends, despite a late start in the diplomatic relations.

In H.E Salato’s closing remarks, he expressed that one of Solomon Islands key priorities on economic cooperation with China is to sign the SPS protocols as soon as possible and the Embassy looks forward to working closely with the right departments and authorities to complete this task.

Today, China is Solomon Islands’ largest trading partner and number one export destination for Solomon Islands products. Solomon Islands exports to China account for more than 60% of total exports and 24% of total imports. Our main products of export to China are logs, timber, minerals and other products.



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