22 Oct 2008

Solomon Islands govt minister says alcohol and tobacco to be included in PICTA

11:25 am on 22 October 2008

The Solomon Islands minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, William Haomae, has announced the Government's intention to include alcohol and tobacco in the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement, or PICTA.

Mr Haomae made the announcement at the current Forum Trade Ministers Meeting on PICTA in Nadi, Fiji.

So far, alcohol and tobacco have been excluded from PICTA, but Pacific ministers of trade will decide whether they should be included in 2009.

Mr Haomae says consultation with the industries concerned and other government departments would be required before a decision could be made.

He says is alcohol and tobacco are to be included, it will have to be done in such a way as to protect government revenue, and to avoid an increase in overall consumption - by replacing tariffs with excise duties as necessary.

This would mean that the average price of alcoholic drinks and cigarettes would not fall, but that the price of products from other Pacific countries would fall into line with the price of domestic equivalents.