The National, Thursday 23rd May 2013
PAPUA New Guinea would lose K2 billion in annual income if the country agrees on the duty free arrangements with Australia and New Zealand.
Trade Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru said this before he left the country for the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) trade ministers meeting in Fiji last weekend.
Maru said he was against PNG being part of the Pacer Plus scheme, which is strongly favoured by New Zealand and Australia as the trade imbalance means there would be no benefit to PNG.
“We (PNG) should not enter into the regional (Pacer Plus) trade agreement.
“PNG need to realise if we have a duty free arrangement, we will lose significant amount that we enjoy every year from the duty we collect.
“PNG cannot lose substantial amount which we need for roads and schools.
“If other Pacific Island nations feel they can benefit from free trade arrangements with Australia and New Zealand, they can have bilateral relations on their own.”
Maru said that he wanted to see a common market established in the Melanesian Spearhead Group of nations before it is extended to the wider Pacific.