Tuesday, November 11, 2014

PM O’Neill at APEC: Papua New Guinea’s role as gateway between Asia and the Pacific

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill  has begun his first full day of APEC related meetings taking place in Beijing, China, this week.
Accompanied by key ministers involved in the policy and logistics of APEC activities between now and 2018, the Prime Minister met with other regional leaders and spoke to more than 1,000 senior business people.
In bilateral meetings with counterpart leaders, O'Neill highlighted a range of issues that are central to further strengthening Papua New Guinea's economy.
"Papua New Guinea is a gateway to the Pacific Islands for Asian countries,"  O'Neill sad following the bilateral meetings.
"We are utilising our position as a crossroads between Asia and the Pacific Islands to strengthen trade, increase skills and improve the lives of people in our region."
The bilateral meetings undertaken by the Prime Minister and his delegation were with the leaders of Viet Nam, Thailand, the Philippines and China.
The Prime Minister also participated in the APEC CEO Summit, a dialogue of more than 1,000 CEOs from around the world that takes place in conjunction with the APEC Economic Leaders' Summit.
Appearing alongside O'Neill on the panel was H.E. llanta Humala, the President of Peru; Richard Adkerson, President and Vice Chairman of Freeport-McMoRan; and, Akio Mimura, the Honorary Chairman of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation.
The topic of the panel discussion was: ­"Towards Inclusive Growth: Is Economic Growth the Answer to Rising Global Inequality?"
The Prime Minister provided perspective on inclusive growth as this relates to Papua New Guinea's approach to economic development.
"We must be inclusive with the growth that we're experiencing so that this is shared by all,"  O'Neill said to the APEC CEO Summit.
"It is not just about income it's about a better quality of life for our people in a range of areas.
"To overcome inequality we need to give people support and develop the necessary skills that they need to contribute to the economy."
He made the point that reducing inequality required attention to core services that empower people to take part in the economy such as healthcare, education, law and order, and infrastructure.
"Access to universal healthcare is enabling our people to be more healthy so that they can be productive in the economy and this helps their community.
"Education and skills training is also essential to empower the next generation when they leave our schools.
"We have implemented a free education policy so that all Papua New Guinea children have to go to school.  This will advance literacy rates and we will have a much better educated and trained population.
"We have increased our spending on law and order initiatives and this is making the places people live and work safer."
The Prime Minister added that the provision of new infrastructure was essential but it had to not just be in major cities.
"We are putting national government funds into local level projects," he said.
The Prime Minister acknowledged that overcoming inequality can be a difficult path to navigate, but governments have a responsibility to deal with the issue.
"Yes, we there have been some challenges.  We are learning from the past and we are learning from experience of people in other countries who have had similar growth challenges such as urbanisation."
The Prime Minister is attending the APEC Business Advisory Council Dialogue with fellow leaders in the afternoon of November 10, while formal APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting Plenary Sessions take place today.
The Ministers attending the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting with the Prime Minister are Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato; Trade and Industry Minster, Richard Maru; and, Minster for National Events Justin Tkatchenko.

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