Friday, August 21, 2009

Malaysia-Papua New Guinea trade continues to grow

Trade between Malaysia and Papua New Guinea registered at K680 million last year and continues to grow, according to new Malaysian High Commissioner Datin Blanche Olbery (pictured).
Ms Olbery, who presented her credentials to Governor General Sir Paulias Matane on Aug 7, said this as Malaysia prepares to celebrate its 52nd anniversary of independence on Aug 31.
She is the first-ever Malaysian High Commissioner in PNG, her seven predecessors being male.
In terms of trade, volume of trade between the two nations registered last year stood at RM 890 million (K680m) compared in 2007, the volume of trade was RM428.5 million (K329.62 m), with a trade surplus for Malaysia.
“In term of investment, the Malaysian private sector continues to have significant presence with investments totaling K3b since 1994,” Ms Olbery, a lawyer by profession, said.
“Being the largest Asian investors, Malaysian companies become the leading citizen job providers in PNG owing to large number of jobs created per million kina invested.
“From the latest Investment Promotion Authority database source, Malaysian companies have generated 36,000 jobs since 1995.   
“Many Malaysian companies which are already well entrenched and have a strong footing in PNG find that the investment and business climate are becoming more favourable and conducive.”
The biggest Malaysian companies here are Rimbunan Hijau (RH), Carpenter Group, TST Group, Johor Corporation (shareholder of New Britain Palm Oil Ltd), and several timber companies as well as Malaysian companies that involved in constructions and retail business.
“We also have state-owned bank, Maybank, which is operated in Waigani Port Moresby and Lae,” Ms Olbery said.
“Malaysian company International Food Corporation Ltd (IFC), a subsidiary of FIMA, is also involved in mackerel canning since 1995 in Lae.
“Taking into account a potential sago harvesting plantation in PNG, Malaysia’s Sarawak state government under its agency, the land custody and development authority (LCDA) has set to invest in the commercialisation of sago industry in PNG.
“The Sarawak government and the PNG government, under its National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI), has agreed to foster a joint research and development programme in developing quality sago in PNG.”
  Kula Lumpur and Port Moresby established diplomatic ties in 1975 and Malaysia established its diplomatic mission in Port Moresby in 1982.
Ms Olbery forsees a bright future for PNG, especially with the multi-billion kina liquid natural gas (LNG) project soon to come on stream.
“With the recent discovery of world’s biggest natural gas reservoir and the LNG project will be operating soon, this will certainly change the economy of PNG dramatically,” she said.
“This positive development would attract many foreign investors to invest in PNG including Malaysia.
“Due to the positive prospect of PNG economy, I would like to promote PNG as a strategic destination for Malaysian investors.
“On top of that, in term of political engagement, I also would like to promote high level visits between the two nations during my tour of duty as a High Commissioner of Malaysia.”

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