Maru firm on trade agreement

by PNG Business News - September 19, 2022

Photo: Richard Maru

According to Richard Maru, the minister for international trade and investment, the feasibility study for a free trade agreement with the People's Republic of China should be carried out before the end of the year.

Maru reiterated PNG's commitment to a potential free trade deal with China during a meeting he conducted with Chen Jiliang, the charge de affairs of the People's Republic of China embassy.

The cost and advantages of such an arrangement would be determined by the study, he claimed.

“Both parties need to agree to the terms of reference for the study and agree to hire a neutral independent global expert to undertake the study. Without that, we cannot proceed with the study,” he said.

He anticipates that the two nations will be debating the adoption of the study's findings by January or February of the following year.

It was a result of discussions between Li Keqiang, the Chinese premier, and former prime minister Peter O'Neill in 2016.

During a trip to Beijing last year, Prime Minister James Marape repeated it.

Maru praised the Chinese government for contributing K1 million so that Papua New Guinea could hire a consultant to carry out the study's PNG portion.

Additionally, he is pleading with both domestic and foreign investors to collaborate with the government in the downstream processing sector.

“We need local and international investors to support the government in aggressively pursuing its new policy direction of replacing all food imports by investing in the downstream processing industries,” he said.

He said that before they are shipped, PNG must prepare fish, coconut, cocoa, and coffee.

“(They should) also invest in large-scale oil palm plantations in the savannah land especially in the Sepik Plains, Western, Madang and Morobe, and in cattle and other agriculture projects as well, and in the PMIZ,” he said.

 

Reference: The National (9 September 2022). “Maru firm on trade agreement”.



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