Neighbours Tackling Trade Imbalance: PM
Prime Minister James Marape has said that Australia and Papua New Guinea are now seriously addressing the trade imbalance among the two nations.
Australia is Papua New Guinea‘s largest trading partner. In terms of trade and investment, Australia is the leading export destination for approximately two thirds of goods and services originating from PNG.
Total Australian merchandise trade with Papua New Guinea amounted to A$6 billion in 2011, with exports of A$2.3 billion and imports of AUS$3.7 billion.
The two-way trade between PNG and Australia has since doubled, hence in 2017 was valued at A$6.02 billion (K14.3 billion) with the trade balance in favour of PNG. Major Australian exports to Papua New Guinea are crude petroleum, civil engineering equipment and parts, and specialised machinery and parts.
PM Marape in a conference yesterday said: “My focus is for PNG trade. At the moment there is a huge trade imbalance as more of Australian products are being found in PNG and we need to bridge that trade imbalance and ensure that we are on equal footing.
“PNG aspires to look beyond just having an aid donor big brother small brother relationship with Australia but more on an equal footing in as far as trade relationships are concerned going into the future, as we work in our region to harness from the greater Pacific group of nations we have had to establish relationship that is of mutual benefit, country to country but more so as we relate to the Pacific, Asia and other regions,” he said.
Reports detail that there are about 5000 Australian businesses operate in PNG, although investment is more focused on sectors such as financial services and the resources sector. Other notable sectors include manufacturing and sustainable tourism.
Tourism has increased significantly between Papua New Guinea and Australia and in 2015 cruise tourism in PNG brought in approximately AS$ 6 million (K14.4 million) into the economy.
This ripple effect has in turn contributed to an increase in MSMEs and SMEs particularly in the sole of sustainable tourism, handy crafts and high-quality agricultural products. PNG’s trade and investment priorities have now shifted to focus more on developing the non mining sector and comprehensively improving and advancing the agriculture sector.
There was huge potential to increase and diversify trade relations between both countries.
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