Monday, February 27, 2012

Abel wants PNG to export more goods

Source:Post Courier, February 27, 2012
Papua New Guinea should have its own downstream processing facilities to refine and process its natural resources and export the final products to the offshore markets.
Minister for Commerce, Trade and Industries Charles Abel, in light of the demands for PNG’s natural resources especially making reference to the European markets demands for PNG tuna and palm oil, said PNG should have its own downstream processing onshore.
Minister Abel when asked whether his talk on having an onshore processing facilities was just a consideration or an actual policy for the government, told this reporter last Friday during a signing of the second interim economic partnership agreement (iEPA) with the European Union that it was consistent and in line with the government’s Vision 2050 plan.
Minister Abel said currently PNG tuna loins and palm oil are major commodities that have high demands in EU markets and in order to maintain and remain competitive.
He said PNG in the long term should look at improving the markets by way of having onshore processing facilities.
Already, PNG has several tuna facilities in Lae, Madang and Wewak and the current Pacific Marine Industrial Zone in Madang which is said to be a flagship fishery project that will underpin the country’s major tuna export to EU and other markets outside of EU.
Mr Abel, while signing the second iEPA with EU Director General for Trade Peter Thomson, witnessed by EU Ambassador Dr Martin Dihm and acting Foreign Secretary Ambassador Lucy Bogari and other EU trade delegates, said economic and social development opportunities that are anchored in the iEPA are important for PNG.
He said PNG is to make use of the preferential market access opportunities and development assistance enshrined in the agreement.
Mr Thomason commended the PNG-EU partnership stressing the importance of one hand making the most of the iEPA and on the other hand exploring options for a way forward.
“The parties noted that this could include the possible accessing of other African Caribbean Pacific states to the iEPA and expansion of the agreement to include further areas of corporation such as services, investments, fisheries and development,” Mr Thomson said.
The agreement is expected to see a creation of 53,000 employment opportunities that will see many of PNG women being employed.
The EU comprises of 27 member countries in Europe.
It is the world’s largest trading entity and most lucrative consumer market.

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