The first-ever National Export Strategy for the RMI underwent final validation late last month for finalization before informing and seeking endorsement from Cabinet.
The strategy is a long-term plan that has, after intense consultation with government and private sector, identified five major sectors, which include fisheries, tourism, pandanus, coconut and handicrafts in the first phase of implementation, said Natural Resources and Commerce Minister Dennis Momotaro.
Momotaro went on to say that the strategy has identified cross-sector strategies including infrastructure development and technological value adding as well as e-commerce online trade for exports. “With Compact funding coming to an end in 2023, we need to be creative in developing our economy, provide employment to our people and grow our economy. The NES provides strategies that can achieve and sustain the RMI in the future,” he concluded.
Drafting of the strategy has involved National Trade Adviser for the RMI Radika Kumar, Rajan Ratna from UNESCAP, Resources Secretary Iva Reimers, Chief of Trade and Investment Walter Myazoe, Jr., and Trade Promotion Officer Hatty Kabua.
Some of the goals of the strategy include reducing RMI dependency on aid by 10 percent by 2025, and raising average exports as a share of average imports from 0.05 percent in 2015 to two percent in 2025.
The objectives of the fisheries sector include certification of canned fish, pearl farming, upgrading machinery and production line, and setting up an e-commerce portal for trading. Another virtual online platform the ministry is focusing on to develop the tourism sector involves the “Be Marshallese, Buy Marshallese” campaign, promoting the brand in airline magazines, and setting up a virtual market for RMI goods and services. The strategy also stresses development of Intellectual Property Rights protection for Marshallese handicrafts design as well making pandanus juice exclusive to the RMI.
The key objective of the Marshall Islands Trade Policy Framework is to enhance the participation of the private sector in the economy and promote export-led sustainable economic growth and self-reliance with the ultimate objective of creating employment, alleviating hardship and raising the living standards of Marshallese citizens.
Read more about this in the July 19, 2019 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.