The National, Thursday July 18th, 2013
By GYNNIE KERO
PAPUA New Guinea should set up an office in Geneva to avoid missing out on potential benefits and assistance from donors, Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru says.
He also stressed PNG should venture into processing local raw material to bring in more revenue.
The minister said this at a media briefing after attending the 4th Global Review for Aid for Trade at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland recently.
Maru said that local processing would address the country’s unemployment problems and generate more business opportunities for local companies.
Maru said PNG has been missing out on aids because PNG has not established an office there.
“We missed out on a lot of aids, assistance and technical support … we do not have an ambassador in Geneva … I recommend that we should set up an office through the WTO, which is important post to look at,” he added.
Maru was invited by the WTO director general Pascal Lamy to participate in the panel session on aid for trade, global value chains and the Pacific.
In his presentation, Maru confirmed the government’s commitment on downstream processing and adding value to PNG’s raw exports merchandise.
He also met with the permanent representative of Solomon Islands to Geneva Moses Mose to discuss the importance of his representation in Geneva.
Mose explained that Geneva was a strategic location to establish a foreign mission because a number of international organisation such as the United Nationals Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), WTO, World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), World Health Organisation (WHO) the International Labor Organisation (ILO) among others are settled there.
Mose said PNG and other Pacific Islands countries that did not have missions in Geneva and were losing out on potential benefits such as technical assistance.
In addition, Mose explained that it was important for members to maintain their missions in Geneva to advance their interests in the various forum.
Maru also met with the Commonwealth Secretariat which also offered office space to PNG at very reasonable rates, free internet services and many more and encouraged PNG to set up diplomatic office in Geneva.