| Sunday Bulletin
PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape wants Japan, Australia and New Zealand to establish an economic bubble with Pacific Island countries as part of the fight against Covid-19.
Marape made his appeal at Friday's 9th Pacific Alliance Leaders Meeting, which was held virtually.
He said the Pacific Islands are concerned that Covid-19 is not just a health issue but an economic issue.
“In Papua New Guinea we recognise that Covid-19 has had a strong negative impact on our economy,” Marape said.
“Speaking on behalf of 14 sister nations in the Pacific, we need international trade and commerce for our economies to function.
“This applies especially those nations dependent on tourism, fisheries, agriculture and the export of our raw resources which are exposed to the damage Covid-19 is causing to our local economies.
“Papua New Guinea has elevated our Covid-19 response by passing the National Pandemic Act that defines how we live, work, operate and trade.
“We have not closed our borders and we are still open for business to ensure our 10 million people survive Covid-19.”
Marape said he wanted to thank Japan for its continued interventions and interest in the small Pacific Island nations.
“They are totally vulnerable to the contraction of the global economy and the close of international borders,” he said.
“I ask for your continued presence in helping us not just in health but more importantly on how we can ensure trade and the economy remains functional.”
Marape asked Japan, Australia and New Zealand to help Pacific Island nations keep their economies going by operating in a trade and economic bubble that would allow the countries’ economies to survive the tough times.
The 14 Pacific island countries in the Pacific Alliance are Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomons, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.