The National – Wednesday, February 2, 2011
TRADE between Papua New Guinea and Asia is at record levels, with exports to China increasing seven-fold in the last 10 years, ANZ chief executive officer Mike Smith said in Lae yesterday.
He said this was due to the growing connections between Asia and the Pacific.
Smith highlighted the economic data in the Morobean capital as part of a tour of six Pacific countries with ANZ chief executive officer Pacific Michael Rowland.
Smith said the trend was replicated across the Pacific, which increased exports to China by 77% for the first 11 months last year compared to 2009 and was on track to reach an estimated record of US$1.2 billion – more than eight times the amount recorded in 2001.
Imports from China into the region were also strong and passed US$1 billion for the first time last year.
“Over the next five years, emerging markers are expected to account for more than 50% of global economic growth and Asia – particularly China – will be the most significant driver of world growth,” Smith said.
“The Pacific has a great opportunity to capitalise on its proximity to Asia and the growing connections it has with the region. Maximizing these opportunities will lead to increased economic development in the Pacific and will underpin improved prosperity for the Pacific people.
He said ANZ also had big plans for its Pacific business this year.
“We intend to introduce a faster, lower cost way for people to remit money back to the Pacific; we will launch a new level of service for our affluent customers and we will continue to explore how we can use mobile phones to improve banking services for people living in remote areas,” Smith said.
As part of his visit, Smith also opened ANZ’s business centre in Lae and hosted a luncheon for ANZ’s top customers.
The CEO’s visit followed the recent launch of the new ANZ wardrobe, the PNG Minera Resource Authority’s online store enabled by ANZ eGate and the launch of bemobile’s phone top-up service at ANZ ATMs nationwide.