O’Neill meets Hollande

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The National,Friday June 17th, 2016

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says his meeting with French President François Hollande is significant as the two nations increase economic and cultural ties through the new Papua LNG project.
The two leaders met in Paris yesterday.
“The distance between two countries is increasingly irrelevant in the world of modern communications and transportation, and we are seeing our relationship with France go from strength to strength,” O’Neill said after the meeting.
“While we have enjoyed 40 years of diplomatic relations, it is only now that trade and cultural relations are increasing, and they are increasingly rapidly with more French nationals moving to Papua New Guinea to live and work.
“President Hollande expressed his satisfaction with the increasing strength in our relationship that we both agree will only improve as our work together evolves. Now with our strengthening relationship direct with France, I hope we will see an increase in business and tourism.
“France is increasingly our trade gateway to Europe and we would like to see Papua New Guinea become a significant hub for France in the Pacific.
“Our agricultural produce and fisheries have a ready market in France. We continue to implement measures as part of Economic Partnership Agreement.
“Already we export canned tuna duty free to France, and we are seeking to expand to other areas including agriculture, forestry, and minerals.”
He said Papua New Guinea had made an undertaking to welcome French professionals and instructors as part of the Total SA-led Papua LNG project.
“The Papua LNG Project is going to generate 10,000 jobs in Port Moresby and 3,000 new jobs in Gulf Province, and hundreds of French workers will come and live with us.”
O’Neill is in Paris for the PNG Trade and Investment Forum with representives of the private and public sector.