The National | November 21, 2022
PNG, China talk trade
PRIME Minister James Marape says Chinese President Xi Jinping has given him an undertaking to buy more or all that Papua New Guinea produces.
The undertaking was made during a bilateral meeting between Xi and Marape on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on Friday in Bangkok, Thailand, where Marape said his Government’s focus was no longer on asking aid or grants but on trade, commerce and more business between both countries.
Marape said after the meeting that the onus was now on PNG to start increasing production in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, mining, oil and gas, and other areas such as tourism to supply the Chinese market.
He was accompanied by International Trade and Investment Minister Richard Maru, Foreign Affairs Minister Justin Tkatchenko and secretary Elias Wohengu, PNG Ambassador responsible for Thailand Peter Vincent, as well as senior government officials
“The meeting with President Xi Jinping went very well,” Marape said.
“I congratulated him on his re-election and mentioned that we look forward to entrenching China-PNG relations, especially in the area of trade and commerce.
“Xi also congratulated me on my re-election as prime minister of PNG.
“We agreed that a free trade agreement must be concluded at the very earliest that would secure both nation’s interest so that trade and commerce happened within this realm.
“Xi invited me for a state visit to China next year during which time we hope to sign the free trade agreement.
“He supported PNG’s move into downstream processing of our natural resources at our special economic zones and said the Chinese market was ‘endless’ for PNG products.
“He supported PNG’s move into downstream processing and would get Chinese companies to invest in this space.”
Marape said Xi supported the idea to have direct flights between Shanghai and Port Moresby, which would complement plans to increase business opportunities between both countries, as well as people-to-people relationships.
“There are over 100 million tourists leaving China every year and direct flights to Shanghai from Port Moresby can target this market.”
Marape thanked Xi and China for their continued support to PNG and pledged continued partnership going forward.