Monday, February 20, 2012

EU trade group to meet government, private sector representatives

By SALLY TIWARI

A DELEGATION from the European Union trade mission will be in Port Moresby this week to discuss with government and private sector representatives a bilateral trade agreement, The National reports. The delegation, which included experts on trade, fisheries and development issues, will be led by European Commission director general for trade Peter Thompson.
The bilateral PNG-EU trade agreement was known as interim economic partnership agreement and was initiated in 2007, signed in 2009 and ratified by EU and PNG in 2010.
The agreement provided for free access to the EU market for all products from PNG.
Issues to be discussed at the conference included benefits and the opportunities for increasing exports, support for the implementation of the agreement and its possible expansion to cover other issues such as services and investment.
Thompson said the EU believed in the potential of PNG and trade relations should help transform potential into benefits.
“Jointly with our friends and partners from PNG, we are determined to make the most of our agreement,” he said.
Ambassador to the European Union Martin Dihm said: “So far the tuna processing industry had benefitted under the agreement.”
He said aside from oil and minerals, other products being exported from PNG included palm oil, tea, coffee, cocoa and minerals.
Head of operations for economics, trade and governance, Peter Van Den Heuvel said PNG had to diversify its exports from raw materials to manufactured goods to attract investment and create more employment.
He said a major challenge for trade in PNG was lack of infrastructure such as testing laboratories and electrical energy, which would be discussed during the conference.
Papua New Guinea is the only country in the Pacific to have a trade agreement with the EU.
The two-day conference will be held on Wednesday and Thursday with an expected 80 participants.

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