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PNG Continues Trading with the UK

In spite of leaving the European Union, parliament has convened to unanimously continue trading with the United Kingdom. In a vote of 97-0, parliament voted to waive section 117(3) of the Constitution that has bound PNG to trade with the UK under the EU.

Section 117(3) would be ratified for PNG to trade with the UK under the UK and Pacific interim economic partnership agreement (UK-Pacific IEPA).

According to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Patrick Pruaitch, PNG has a trade surplus of US$82.8 million (K289.5mil) and trade needed to continue in spite of the UK’s exit from the EU. He added that continuing to trade with the UK was to “cushion the economic shock caused by the Covoid-19 pandemic”.

“PNG needs such an arrangement to allow the continuation of trade through favourable market access preferences, promote business and investment confidence and strengthen its position as a trading nation,” he said, adding that the UK was an important partner in trading.

“We import from the UK, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, machinery and mechanical appliances among other goods that are important to the development of PNG,” Pruaitch said. “So if Parliament ratifies this agreement (UK-Pacific IEPA), we will see our small and medium-sized business continue to flourish with an increase in employment, income and improvements in livelihood for our people.”

In addition, he said that the agreement would also help the technical agencies of PNG broaden their knowledge and capacity on best practices for other measures such as sanitary measures. He said that in London last year, PNG High Commissioner to the UK, Winnie Kiap signed the agreement on behalf of the government.

“The signing was done in anticipation of the UK exiting the EU which has already happened and the transition phase will end on Dec 31,” he said.

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