Papua New Guinea offers market expansion

04 Aug 2015 / 21:57 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Papua New Guinea, which is keen to become a full-fledged member of Asean, is offering a platform for Asean countries to expand their market reach into Melanesia and the South Pacific islands.
Ambassador Peter H. Ilau, who led a delegation of senior officials from Papua New Guinea at the 48th Asean Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM) and related meetings, said with Papua New Guinea on board, member countries could tap the potential of these "unexplored" markets.
"They not only benefit from our country's potential but also the surrounding small island-nations.
"For example, through the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), Asean members can tap the potential of the group's member countries, which include Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands," he told Bernama in an interview here today.
Ilau, who is also the Ambassador to Indonesia, was here for the 48th AMM and related meetings, which started on Saturday at the Putra World Trade Centre here.

"Apart from that, (Papua New Guinea) as well as (MSG), can tap the economic benefit via the size of Asean, its gross domestic product, demography as well as the population size, market and trade potential, which serve as a good platform," he added.
Ilau said MSG, which includes the Kanak Liberation Movement from New Caledonia, has a lot of raw commodities such as agricultural products like coffee and coconut as well as seafood, such as tuna.
Meanwhile, Asean members can tap into Papua New Guinea's lead industry such as oil and gas, mining and seafood, which have been among the key drivers for growth of the country with over seven million people.
Papua New Guinea, which has been the 10-member grouping's observer since 1981, expressed interest to become a full member in 2010 and has since had a series of dialogues within the grouping.
Located in the Southwestern Pacific, the country is rich in natural resources such as oil and gas.
Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. – Bernama

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