PNG, India to enter economic partnership

PNG and India are set to enter into an ‘Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)’ covering various sectors of mutual benefit.

The EPA aims to consolidate on forty-two years of diplomatic relations between both countries.

Minister for National Planning, Richard Maru, said the decision to enter an economic partnership is a result of India’s recognition that PNG has much business and other opportunities for Indian businesses and the people of India.

“This agreement will be a comprehensive arrangement that will guide our relationship covering areas like investment and trade, development assistance, people to people relations, business to business connectivity and defence and security for the mutual benefit of both countries and the region.

“India can assist PNG in many areas of our development efforts and to improve the living standards of our rural population. There are many lessons India has learned from over 30 to 40 years to completely transform their economy,” Minister Maru said.

Minister Maru also met with India's Minister for External Affairs, Videsh Mantri, on Wednesday (Dec 13th).

Mantri expressed the Government of India’s support to PNG’s proposal for an EAP and agreed for technical teams from both sides to immediately begin preparations of drafting.

She also highlighted that the Indian Government is committed to the Pacific region and with the business and trade opportunities that lie with both countries.

It is anticipated that the prime ministers of both countries sign the agreement at the proposed Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit in Port Moresby, which PNG has offered to host in the third quarter of 2018.

Head of delegation, Minister Maru, expressed sincere thanks to the Indian Government for their readiness to enter into such an agreement that will see multiple benefits for PNG in the form of foreign direct investment and significant technical assistance.

He said under the new partnership and the funding of many of our large scale infrastructure projects, through the India EXIM Bank and no doubt, trade and investment flowing from India, will see both countries nurture and develop a new enhanced bilateral relationship between the people and Government of India and the people and Government of Papua New Guinea. 

Cedric Patjole