2016: Year of Trade for PNG

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by Delly Waigeno – EM TV News, Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea will vigorously pursue trade and investment interests in 2016.

Minister for Trade, Commerce & Industry, Richard Maru, said this at his first media conference for the year.

He also said that PNG is not ready to sign the PACER Plus Agreement because its proposals threaten the development of local industries.

Minister Maru made it clear that Papua New Guinea will not sign up to any trade agreement that will result in the reduction of income derived from the removal of duty.

He said this may result in the wiping out of the country’s manufacturing sector.

The PACER Plus is the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations negotiated between 14 Forum Island Countries with Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Maru said PACER Plus is supposed to be a development oriented agreement; however, some of its proposals on the trade in goods threaten the development of local industries.

CEO of the Manufacturers Council of PNG, Chey Scovell, agreed that PNG’s current trade arrangements were okay.

Mr Maru said PNGs economy is already distressed from the low commodity prices and will continue to be stressed into the medium term.

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