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Business

PNG seeks more trade, investment links with Phl

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Papua New Guinea (PNG) plans to expand its trade and investment links with the Philippines.

Citing a letter to Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. said PNG’s Minister for Trade, Commerce & Industry Richard Maru has noted opportunities in expanding trade in the commercial fruit industry.

There is potential seen to expand trade in the commercial fruit industry with the Philippines amid growing domestic demand in PNG.

“PNG does not have any large scale commercial fruit farms to supply the domestic market and vast potential export markets within the region,” Maru said.

The PNG official said PNG is keen to work particularly with Dole Asia to complete a feasibility study into establishing a major commercial fruit business in PNG under a joint venture of the government and other shareholders.

Dole Asia is a subsidiary of Dole Asia Holdings, one of Asia’s largest producers and marketers of high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables.

“The demand for fruits grown for the local market and overseas market is very, very high,” Maru said in a separate letter to Johann Albano, Dole Asia vice president for business development.

Maru said the produce from such venture would cater to domestic demand and also to demand from European markets, Melanesian spearhead group countries, and neighboring countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia under PNG’s multilateral and bilateral trade agreements.

Aside from the trade of commercial fruits, Maru said there is also opportunity to expand the air service links between the Philippines and PNG.

He urged the Philippine government to select one of its airlines to commence up to two weekly flights to Port Moresby from Manila.

“This will increase competition, reduce airfares and encourage more and more two-way business travellers and tourism flow between our two countries,” he said.

At present, Air Niugini has five flights to the Philippines which are full both during peak and non-peak periods.

Maru said he is also encouraging Filipino firms to consider investment opportunities that would  benefit both countries.

In particular, he said, he wants more Filipino investors to pour in their money in other key sectors such as banking, education, coconut processing and small and medium enterprises development.

AIR NIUGINI DOLE ASIA DOLE ASIA HOLDINGS INDUSTRY RICHARD MARU JOHANN ALBANO NEW ZEALAND AND INDONESIA PAPUA NEW GUINEA PHILIPPINE EXPORTERS CONFEDERATION PNG PORT MORESBY
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