The National, Thursday February 6th, 2014
STRENGTHENING economic and business ties with Papua New Guinea will be the key focus of Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s two-day visit to Port Moresby and Lae.
PNG’s important role in the region in combating people smuggling, its leadership in supporting Fiji’s elections and its commitment to host the Asia Pacific economic cooperation forum in 2018 would be on the agenda in meetings with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Immigration and Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato and other senior government partners.
The visit, which started yesterday, would build on the successful Australia-PNG ministerial forum held last December, where both countries renewed shared commitment to an economic and strategic partnership.
Australia is PNG’s largest trading partner and Australian investment in the country was worth more than US$19 billion (K40.7 billin) – almost equal to Australia’s investment in China.
Progress on the Australia-PNG network, announced at the ministerial forum to facilitate links between businesses, entrepreneurs and students in both countries will be discussed.
The government’s assessment of aid investment will be an important point of discussion, to ensure aid projects in PNG align with our priorities for the programme.
In a statement Bishop said: “Building on PNG’s commitment to women’s empowerment in the Pacific, I will join a roundtable discussion in Port Moresby about opportunities for PNG women in business and public life.”