Since Independence, Papua New Guinea has dealt with trade matters on adhoc and uncoordinated ways.
However, last night, the government launched the country’s first ever National Trade Policy.
Outgoing Minister for Trade, Commerce & Industry, Richard Maru, said with the policy, the Government will ensure that trade is conducted with Papua New Guinea’s interest as priority.
The PNG National Trade Policy 2017-2032 was launched last night by Deputy Prime Minister Charles Able, the outgoing Minister for Trade, Commerce & Industry, Richard Maru, European Union Ambassador to PNG, Ioannis Giogkarakis-Argyropoulos and the Secretary for Trade, Commerce & Industry, John Andrias.
Mr. Andrias said it took 5 years to consult all stakeholders, draft and re-draft the document to ensure the policy objectives were attainable.
The Strategic Implementation Plan for the policy is still in draft form. The Strategic Implementation Plan sets out the key activities, budget, and timeframe to deliver those activities.
Outgoing Minister for Trade, Commerce & Industry and the new Minister for National Planning, Richard Maru, is satisfied that the Trade Policy is driven by guiding principles. He said PNG has suffered huge loss of income because of low tariffs. He added that PNG has entered into trade agreements in the past which are not in the best interest of the country.
The Trade Policy was made possible with the support of the European Union. Head of the EU Delegation to PNG, Ambassador Ioannis said a sound Trade Policy is a solution to developing an economy which is big enough to provide more job opportunities for the youth and women.
Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Charles Abel, said the trade strategy should be based on areas and resources of competitive advantage and efficient use of our strategic assets, such as our forests and tuna stock.
Minister Able said the government has reviewed its trade agreements through a cost-benefit analysis study and have decided which agreements are more important to PNG. Measures will now be taken to suspend trade with countries who continue to unfairly discriminate against PNG’s trade opportunities.