Regional trade integration high on APEC agenda

APEC 2018 is just months away, one shared goal by member countries is to benefit through regional integration.

Trade is one of those agenda’s, in particular for PNG small Business owners; it’s to have access to markets where their products can be sold.

PNG made products have been a central theme for APEC meetings held in the country leading up to the big meeting in 2018.

The recent transport Ministers meeting held at the ritzy Stanely Hotel saw a number of small business owners showcase their products.

The organisers told loop PNG that superior coffee from Kainantu was becoming a top favourite with international visitors due to it rich organic flavour.

Another stall was Jewellery PNG, fine jewellery all hand crafted to its last detail, and 100 percent Papua New Guinean made.

“We are a micro home based business, we focus mainly on silver and try to incorporate motives from different provinces because a lot of people relate to them,” said Yanah Copland who helps with the family business.

Most of the small businesses chosen to display their items during any of the APEC meetings are highly recommended.

In the APEC meetings, Trade usually comes under regional integration, which includes investment and people movement.

Dr Alan Bollard Executive Director APEC Secretariat, Singapore said the PNG Government is responsible for what it chooses the country should focus on.

He also stressed that e-commerce was now a big thing in APEC economies.

“It doesn’t have to be the old type of trade, like the stuff in containers being sent across the ocean, new trade that means wi-fi, electronic and digital technology,”

“We’re looking for PNG to say, well most of our businesses are actually small businesses, these are the ways you can actually get them into the big regional growth  supply chains and so on,” said Dr Bollard.

Meantime Dr Bollard brushed aside the misconception that APEC is a legally binding body that sets out to enforce how countries should be run. He described it as a consensus and voluntary organisation.

“It’s not legally binding, it’s what can you learn and what can you teach others.”

Meredith Kuusa