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Fed up with Oz, trade minister looks to China

| Radio New Zealand

Richard Maru (Johnny Blades  Radio New Zealand)
Trade minister Richard Maru is frustrated with Australia's lazy attitude to trade with PNG and has his eyes on China - “Enough is enough. Starting from this year, we are moving on"  (Image - Johnny Blades,  Radio New Zealand)

AUCKLAND - Papua New Guinea's trade minister Richard Maru has complained that its trade deal with Australia has been skewed in the Aussies' favour for decades and says the country will trade more with China.

Maru said Beijing should now become PNG's focus for trade and investment because not enough is being done to assist exports to Australia.

He is particularly unhappy with agriculture exports, which account for less than two percent of PNG's exports to Australia, which are dominated by minerals.

“Enough is enough,” he said. “Starting from this year, we are moving on.

“We will partner with whatever country helps us to achieve that."

"We are friends to all and enemies to none. We are not interested in geopolitics.

“Our main priority is securing the future of our people."

Australia supports bolstering PNG's agriculture exports, with prime minister Anthony Albanese promising earlier this year to improve the bio-security regime that will enable farmers and producers to access international markets.

To deepen PNG’s trade with China, a feasibility study is underway to assess the possibility of a free trade agreement.

While Australia is PNG's largest trade partner, China is a close second with PNG enjoying the largest trade surplus of its other trade partners.

Australia is also pursuing a free trade agreement with PNG, with a feasibility study to have been concluded last month.


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William Dunlop

Lindsay, The Papa you gimme
one of old.

Lindsay F Bond

Of the timber trade, according to minister Richard Maru, what metrics of advantage flow to PNG from the round log export, no matter the nationality of those who harvest the heritage forests of PNG?

Now about a possibility of a free trade agreement, what agreement currently constrains?

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