Australia confident of PNG’s Economy
By MATHEW VARI
AUSTRALIA maintains its confidence in the Papua New Guinea economy with renewed investment to strengthen economic ties despite the tough economic climate at present.
Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis told yesterday’s leaders’ summit in Port Moresby about Canberra’s enduring ties which extend to the business front with strong economic two-way trade.
“Our deep enduring ties extend to business trade and investment, reflecting our strong economic partnership,” Mr Davis said.
“Two-way trade is worth around K14 billion with about 64 per cent of trade exported from Papua New Guinea to Australia.
“This wasn’t trade of just traditional commodities like gold and petroleum – Australia imported almost K100 million worth of coffee from your growers last year, 30 per cent increase from the year before.”
Mr Davis pointed out investments by Australian companies currently stand at around K45 billion in a diverse range of sectors from banking and finance, tourism and legal services, mining oil and gas and others.
He highlighted the importance of bilateral trade investment as a major reason to establish its consulate-general office in Lae.
“There is a market in Australia for cocoa and other agricultural products in Australia too. In fact one Australian iconic chocolate company sources a significant percentage of its cocoa from Papua New Guinea due to its very special and unique flavour.
“This reflects our continued confidence in the economic future of Papua New Guinea. We recognise that Lae is an important commercial hub of Papua New Guinea, home to your largest port, largest manufacturing, and the gateway connecting the islands and the highlands. It is also home to a specific number of Australian businesses.”
The high commissioner maintained the importance of ongoing dialogue to the partnership for both countries to take advantage of opportunities and challenges that the two face, with both being resource based economies having felt the brunt of the recent downturn in commodity.
He maintained the need to harness the Asia-Pacific markets which can be beneficial with less red tape to trade freely to grow small and medium sized businesses.