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By Rocky ISSOU

PRIME MINISTER James Marape has welcomed passage of the landmark National Trade Bill 2023 by Parliament.

The landmark bill, unanimously passed by Parliament last Thursday (January 19, 2023) after much debate, was introduced by Minister for International Trade and Investment Richard Maru. It adds to the growing number of important laws passed by the Marape Government since 2019.

Lack of properly-coordinated trade has seen smaller countries from the Pacific being able to export their taro, ginger and handicrafts to Australia and New Zealand while Papua New Guinea – which has over 80 per cent of the population and landmass – cannot get our agriculture and fisheries products into Australia and New Zealand markets

The National Parliament passed landmark legislation last when introduced by Minister for International Trade and Investment, Richard Maru. Minister Maru said the National Trade Bill 2023 was one of the most important laws in terms of trade and investment because it was set out to achieving the PNG Vision 2050 which specifically notes the importance of diversifying the economy by promoting and expanding trade and investment in the country.

“The Bill seeks to address the need for the anchorage of the trade policy function of the government, as well as giving the legal mandate to the newly established National Trade Office to carry out its powers and functions as envisioned under the Trade Policy. The Bill serves to clearly define the functions of the Ministry and the trade policy administration which has been lacking since independence,” said Minister Maru.

Minister Maru said the National Trade Bill 2023 will ensure that the appropriate linkages are established between all relevant stakeholders both domestically and internationally, for PNG to achieve the National Trade Policy Vision of becoming an internationally competitive export-driven economy that is built on and aided by an efficient and expanding domestic market.

“In the long term, gains from a robust trade policy and this National Trade Bill 2023 will contribute to alleviating poverty and advance PNG’s social and economic well-being. Evermore so, trade has been identified by several international organizations such as the World Bank as a tool to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic going forward,” said Minister Maru.

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape welcomed passage of the landmark National Trade Bill 2023 by Parliament, after much debate.

“A competent and dedicated National Trade Office will be set up – under Department of International Trade and Investment – with a clear legal mandate to identify, negotiate and secure new and better market access for our goods and services.” Marape Said

According to Minster for Trade and Investment Richard Maru the successful enactment of this Bill will be another legacy initiative that demonstrates that the Marape-Rosso Government is serious about its commitment to undertake reforms necessary for PNG’s economic prosperity.

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