The National, Thursday 18th April 2013
By MALUM NALU
TRADE between the United Kingdom and Papua New Guinea is growing fast and worth almost 160 million pounds (K531.8 million) a year.
Minister of State for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugo Swire, who is in Port Moresby for the Commonwealth Youth Ministers meeting, told a Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry breakfast at the Royal Papua Yacht Club yesterday that this was a significant achievement in the current financial climate.
“In 2012, goods worth than 120 million pounds (K398.8 million) from Papua New Guinea were exported to the UK,” Swire said.
“Not to mention our import of six of your finest rugby players to play in the UK Super League.
“Distance matters less in the modern world.
“Spices and commodities like tea, coffee, palm oil, shell fish and gold from Papua New Guinea and the Pacific region are brought and consumed in the UK.
“The finest produce from across the globe finds its way to Fortnum and Mason, Her Majesty the Queen’s grocer in Piccadilly,, and their shelves are stocked with Papua New Guinean products like coffee and chocolate.
“Such is their universal appeal that the UK is the second biggest importer of Papua New Guinean produce in the EU – only Germany imports more .
“And goods produced just a few miles from here can be found in independent corner shops across the UK, from Cornwall to Aberdeen.”
Swire said it was not only finished products that were being imported.
“Raw materials also form a vital part of our shared economy,” he said.
“New Britain Oils Ltd has invested 18 million pounds (K59.8 million) in a state-of-the-art processing plant in Liverpool.
“This has created new British jobs and increased demand for sustainable-certified palm oil from plantations in Papua New Guinea.
“Just a few weeks ago a British company, Heritage Oil Plc, announced an expansion into Papua New Guinea’s gas market, acquiring operating rights and a substantial interest in two sites.
“The EU-Papua New Guinea Economic Partnership Agreement, which allows duty free access for PNG products entering the European market, can only increase trade – to the immense benefit of the Papua New Guinea economy and society.
“Indeed, trade between Britain and the whole of the Pacific is on the rise.”
Swire said PNG already had the largest economy in the Pacific and had the resources and potential to grow even more rapidly.
“A partnership with the UK will help to drive this long-term economic growth offering trade links, access to European markets, increased foreign investment and world-class expertise in the protection and sustainable development of natural resources,” he said.
“What I have seen and heard so far gives me great reason to be optimistic about our shared future, and I very much look forward to further successes.”