Papua New Guinea will not participate in PACER Plus.
Minister for Trade, Commerce & Industry, Richard Maru, bluntly told the Australian Trade Delegation that PNG will not partake in trade that will not directly benefit the country.
The PACER Plus is the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations negotiated between 14 Forum Island countries with Australia and New Zealand.
Australian Assistant Minister for Trade and Tourism Investment, Keith Pitt, and his trade delegation were in Port Moresby this week, however Minister Maru has maintained his position that PNG will not participate in PACER Plus.
Minister Maru said PACER Plus does not have any benefits for PNG and it will not participate further in the bilateral agreement.
This week, he told the Australian trade delegation that PNG’s trade relations with Australia need to be reviewed to suit the country’s economic growth aspirations.
He said trade relations haven’t been as good as they could have been with PNG unable to attract Australian investment in the sectors that are important to PNG, like agriculture, tourism and education. All the investments have been focused around the mining and petroleum and the service sectors.
Minister Maru further said the government’s intention is to deepen trade relations with Australia, which is guided by clear policy framework and commitment between the two countries to reduce the current trade deficit.