First trade policy underway: Maru

The National, Friday July 8th, 2016

PNG will soon have a trade policy which will put the country at the forefront of doing business, Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru says.
Maru said told a business consultative forum that PNG had been conducting international trade and investments since independence without a policy.
“We are expecting it to be completed in the next four weeks and I want to launch it in September.
“This is my independence gift to the nation, finally we’ve got a trade policy,” Maru said.
“We don’t even know which countries are our most important partners, we don’t have statistics and we don’t keep good data.
“We haven’t got a bilateral trade agreement with most countries because there has never really been a focus on trade and investment.
“We are going to have an independent trade office that should not be tossed around between Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Maru said the trade office had been pushed around between the two departments.
In the last government, Trade was with Foreign Affairs, now it’s with Trade, Commerce and Industry.
“This is not acceptable. Trade must sit with one ministry regardless of which government comes into office so that we train people to go all over the world trying to promote our goods.
“This is something we are not doing.
“We’ve never had a trade policy that will guide who we should do business with and make sure we have enough funding to push trade and investment and support PNG customs. “Our Government realised our future was in trade and investment, so we have invested in reforming the organisation.
The tax office is now a corporatised organisation, meaning we have not made them an authority and, like customs, we’ve approved funds for X-ray technology.
“By this year, they are going to start using the X-rays to take shots of every container and what’s inside.
“In the past we didn’t know that, we have to open up the containers.
“I’m really happy today that they are meeting to discuss the technology improvements they want to make with the private sector so we can get their input.”