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Papua New Guinea (PNG) will maintain its position of last 10 years to not be part of PACER Plus.

This was the statement by the Minister for International Trade and Investment, Richard Maru, during his first meeting with the new Australian High Commissioner to PNG, His Excellency John Feakes.

 “I want to make it very clear to the Australian Government that PNG is not interested in the PACER Plus because Australia hardly buys from PNG with trade skewed in Australia’s favor for decades. PNG’s exports to Australia in 2022 stood at AU$1.6 billion with over 98% being gold and other precious metals whilst Australia’s exports to PNG stood at AU$95.9 million. So as far as we are concerned, it is pointless to negotiate a PACER Plus Agreement. We would rather go into a new comprehensive economic trade and investment bilateral partnership with Australia which also captures other areas of benefits to PNG given such a vast trade imbalance, like employment of skilled Papua New Guineans, investments in non-extractive sector, and other benefits that we can get from this partnership apart from the trading of goods.” Minister Maru said.

“The PNG-Australia Bilateral Trade Assessment is a priority activity for us with the final report to be released soon by Centre of International Economics. We will also be officially announcing our new Honorary Trade Commissioner to Australia at the end of this month in Brisbane. We want to find potential Australian investors through our Honorary Trade Commission to come and invest in our non-extractive sectors like forestry, fisheries, agriculture, and the tourism sector etc,” Minister Maru added.

The minister further stated that Australia was an important trade partner to PNG.

“Australia is PNG’s largest trade partner with bilateral trade of over AU$6 billion in 2022 and is a major investor in PNG with investment valued at over AU$24.8 billion in 2022. We are very grateful for this,” Minister Maru concluded.

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