Trading amid pandemic

Workers loading goods. – Pictures supplied

BUSINESSES in West Sepik have exported about K100,000 worth of PNG products to the Freeport Mining area in West Papua, Indonesia, to encourage trade during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown, PNG Consular-General Geoffrey Wiri says.
“The business houses in Vanimo exported 800 cartons of PNG products such as Ox & Palm corned beef, snacks such as Twisties, soft drinks and other products to business houses around the copper and gold mine run by Freeport Mining in the Mimika regency (district), West Papua, Indonesia,” he said.
He said it was a trial to promote PNG products to West Papua after a halt to the unregulated cross border vanilla trade.
Government officials from both countries trialled the concept after the governors of East and West Sepik, Allan Bird and Tony Wouwou, expressed concern with the lack of trade in vanilla beans which had affected growers in both provinces and had seen bags allowed to sit and spoil as access to markets in Indonesia through Jayapura were cut.
The governors’ concerns led to a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Dfat) team with other state agencies visiting both East and West Sepik and looking at ways to establish other markets in Jayapura.
Wiri said the first option was to trial out a two-day trading of vanilla in June at the popular market (Batas) along the PNG-Indonesian border but this did not eventuate.
“The Investment Promotion Authority requested Dfat and my office to consider ways of promoting PNG-made products in West Papua so we used a vacant floor at the chancery in Jayapura as a showroom to promote PNG products which attracted Indonesian business houses,” he said.
“That was when business houses in the Free Port Mining area expressed interest in PNG products.”
Wiri said the PNG products were taken to Jayapura through the PNG-Indonesian border and were cleared by both PNG and Indonesian customs officers.
“From Jayapura, these goods were air freighted to Mimika,” he said.