Monday, June 22, 2015

Increasing business and creating jobs through engagement with Europe

Creating more jobs for Papua New Guineans will be a positive outcome of advancing the nation's engagement with Europe during the Prime Minister's visit to Brussels and Paris over the past week.
In the course of the visit,  Prime Minister,  Peter O'Neill, met with a range of business representatives and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk.  
These meetings also included a business breakfast, hosted by the French Business Confederation, with 30 representatives from companies interested in initiating or expanding their operations in PNG.
"There is significant interest in Papua New Guinea from the business community in the cities our delegation visited, and we must convert that interest into tangible business engagement," O'Neill said.
"We cannot think of Europe as being too far away to matter.
"Europe offers a important market particularly for our agricultural products.
"There is also tremendous potential for strategic partnerships in areas that include banking, energy and resources.
"In my meeting with senior executives at Total S.A., they reaffirmed their commitment to developing the third train of LNG in Papua New Guinea.
"Total is a great example of a European company that recognises the potential for investment in Papua New Guinea.
"Total is already employing Papua New Guineans and foreign workers and this number is expected to reach 10,000 at the peak of the construction project.
"With one of the fastest growing economies in the world and being a country with ongoing political stability, businesses are interested in investing at Papua New Guinea."
The Prime Minister said his meeting with European Council President, H Donald Tusk, also provided an opportunity to deepen and widen interaction on important issues.  This includes European concerns in relation to fisheries.
"We discussed action being taken in Papua New Guinea to combat illegal fishing," O'Neill said.
"Papua New Guinea takes these concerns seriously and we are making improvements in our internal systems.
"Both the European Union and Papua New Guinea want to deal with illegal fishing and we are cooperating to achieve a positive outcome.
"President Tusk and I further had the opportunity to further discuss visa issues.  We are working towards having improved visa arrangements for Papua New Guineans travelling to EU countries."
The Prime Minister said following the success of the UK-PNG Trade and Investment Forum last week, and the positive reception in Paris, future forums are likely to include France.
"Next year we are looking at the trade and investment forum being held in Paris and alternate this with London each year."
The Prime Minister thanked the Governments of Belgium and France for their support in facilitating the visit that took place on 17-19 June 2015.

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