Maru keen to seek new economic partnership


NATIONAL Planning and Monitoring Minister Richard Maru is keen to progress negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (EPA) to be negotiated and signed this year.
Maru met with the Indian external affairs ministry on Thursday during his trip with a delegation to New Delhi last week.
The department said in a statement: “This is an important breakthrough for the country in light of what a dynamic economy like India can offer to Papua New Guinea after more than 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
“Having an EPA between both countries will take the bilateral partnership between PNG and India to another level.
“The only other EPA that PNG has is with the European Union and PNG is gaining progressively through this arrangement.
“The comprehensive EPA with India is intended to be anchored on trade and investment, development and defence co-operation.
“It is the desire of India’s external affairs ministry to have the EPA signed as a highlight event during the next forum of the India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (Fipic) currently under consideration to be held in PNG, hopefully this year.”
The statement said Maru discussed with India the possibility of a full state visit by the Indian government to PNG for the signing of the comprehensive EPA, a day before the Fipic.
“The PNG Government will continue discussions with the Indian government to firm up arrangements accordingly,” the department said.
“Maru and the delegation have also seen first-hand India’s thriving micro small to medium enterprises (MSME) sector, and a successful programme that focuses on skilled and entrepreneurial abilities, budding entrepreneurs and a hand-holding approach to ensure that they identify, coach, train and make available resources.”

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