The National, Thursday July 18th, 2013
By GYNNIE KERO
THE informal bilum business in Papua New Guinea will be commercialised to penetrate the international markets, Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru says.
He said the bilum project would be funded by the International Trade Centre’s US$3 million (K6.7 million) Women in Trade programme with additional funding support from the Australian government.
He disclosed this in Port Moresby yesterday following a recent trip to Geneva where he attended the 4th Global Review for Aid for Trade last week.
The ITC is a joint initiative of the WTO and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) based in Geneva.
Maru said the ITC supported developing countries in boosting their export capacity and enhance participation in global trade.
The bilum project could be initiated next month with a preliminary mission from ITC due to visit the country.
Another potential project Maru hoped to collaborate with the ITC was to develop a national export Strategy for PNG.
He said: “This project would identify constraints in the supply chain that hinder PNG’s ability to maximise value from its traditional exports.”
The ITC has developed a plan of action to address these constraints and assisted the government to carry out the plan, Maru said.
“I will seek financial support from international development partners for this project,” Maru said.
Maru and ITC also discussed a possible agreement between his ministry and ITC for long term collaboration on other trade-related assistance.
Meanwhile, Maru also met with the European Union in Brussels last Thursday and held consultations on the implementation and future development of the Interim EPA between the Pacific states and the European Union.
He also held a trade dialogue with the EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht on the margin of the trade committee meeting in Brussels.
Maru praised the EU for its market access to fisheries products under the interim EPA and EU’s trade related development assistance.
He also reaffirmed PNG’s commitment on effective implementation of the agreement and to explore other opportunities in agro-based food processing and manufacturing, beyond fisheries with the European Union.
Maru also stressed the country’s desire for more European investors to come to PNG.