The National, Monday 17th June 2013
STATE Enterprise Minister Ben Micah says there are immense trade opportunities that can be developed with Indonesia.
Addressing members of the business delegation that accompanied Prime Minister Peter O’Neill last night on a four-day state visit to Indonesia, Micah said relationships between the two countries were rekindled at the Bali Democracy Forum last October, where O’Neill met with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
More than 80 representatives of the business community are among the 148-strong PNG delegation O’Neill is leading to Indonesia, which includes 43 public servants, ministers and politicians.
They departed on a chartered Air Niugini aircraft last night and will return on Wednesday.
“A very important emphasis was placed on the fact that although Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are closest neighbours, there has been very little interaction,” Micah said.
“A lot of opportunities exist that can be developed by both countries.
“There are cheaper and good quality products in Indonesia.
“A lot of opportunities will open up for our business people.
“An Indonesia-PNG business council needs to be set up.
“This is not going to be a junket or joy ride.
“You are going to be part of history that will lay the foundation for this relationship.”
Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary William Dihm said the trip would strengthen Indonesia-PNG relations, and several agreements and treaties were expected to be signed during the visit.
Investment Promotion Authority managing director Ivan Pomaleu, who is leading the business delegation, said its size “makes a big statement”.
“I have not recalled a bigger delegation in my whole career,” he said.
“This is a major business delegation.
“The fact that you are going is a major statement.”