PAPUA New Guinea is moving to pursue direct investment relations with Asian economic power India, according to Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru.
He told reporters last Friday that despite PNG establishing formal diplomatic relationships with India in 2006, it had failed to bring in direct investments from India.
Maru, who addressed a global partnership summit in India last month, said statistics from 2010-11 showed that India imported US$100.56 million worth of products from PNG, while exporting US$17.58 million worth of products to PNG.
PNG’s main exports to India are gold, copper, timber, copra, marine products, coffee, vanilla and cocoa.
India’s main exports to PNG are textiles, machinery, food, manufactured goods, pharmaceuticals, surgical items, soap, washing detergents/powder, polishes, paper and paper pulp.
“It’s important that we understand that India is going to be the third biggest economy in the world, second only to China (in the Asia-Pacific),” Maru said.
“India is growing and evolving and its growth rate sits at around 6.6%.”
Maru urged acting secretary for Foreign Affairs Lucy Bogari, Internal Revue Commision commissioner Betty Palaso and Investment Promotion Authority managing director Ivan Pomaleu to fast track finalisation of agreements between the two countries and to work in consultation with PNG’s high commissioner to India Tarcisius Eri
He highlighted that Indian companies had expertise in satellites, private power stations, private highways and private education institutions.
“India is very keen on establishing businesses in the country, including the resource sector,” Maru said.
“There is huge potential and scope to develop and enhance trade and investment relations between the two countries, considering the fact that India is one of the economic powerhouses of the world and is a major hub for a lot of companies and businesses, with strong average annual growth of 6% to 8%.
“India’s engagement has progressively increased with PNG in both trade and investment.
“Their major economic relations with PNG are in the fields of energy, education, telecommunication and information technology.”
Meanwhile, on his return, Maru stopped over in Singapore and met his counterpart minister Lim Hng Kiang and several companies with interest in PNG’s fisheries and financial sectors
“The Singapore government has strongly urged PNG to hold an investment seminar in Singapore to promote PNG’s investment opportunities in the region,” he said.