The Prime Minister has promoted the role of Lae as a transportation centre for trade between Asia and the Pacific Islands in his discussion with Leaders from APEC Economies.
PM O’Neill made the comments during an intervention speech to the APEC Summit in Beijing this week when Leaders discussed ways to strengthen connectivity between APEC Member Economies. He also highlighted the need for APEC economies to work together to overcome obstructions or bottlenecks to trade.
“The Asia-Pacific covers such an immense area, so for an island nation like Papua New Guinea, enhancing connectivity is a priority,” PM O’Neill said.
“We continue to build our direct linkages for the movement of people, goods, and knowledge and information across borders.
“Papua New Guinea is a hub between the larger economies of the Asia-Pacific and the smaller Pacific Island states.
“We are expanding our seaport facilities that will see the city of Lae become an important hub for shipping in our part of the Asia-Pacific region.
“A wide-ranging construction programme has been implemented in Lae that has increased the wharf capacity dramatically.”
During their meeting, APEC Leaders endorsed a number of initiatives that will help to strengthen trade through national ports, including the Blueprint on Connectivity, that will seek to prevent interruptions to the movement of goods as well as services.
“Papua New Guinea welcomes the APEC Blueprint on Connectivity and the implementation plan which establishes our next steps and milestones for progress.
“For a country like Papua New Guinea, obstructions and bottlenecks in supply chains can have more devastating effects than in other economies.
“We do not have the economies of scale that can absorb and balance interruptions. The cost to large businesses can lead to losses in the millions, while interruptions to small businesses can be devastating.”
The Prime Minister noted that with the blueprint being adopted, a related capacity building plan to improve supply chain performance will be particularly important for Papua New Guinea. Advancing this connectivity agenda will have flow-on effects for smaller island states for whom Papua New Guinea is a transportation hub.
“The funding and capacity building support that comes with this plan will assist Papua New Guinea in implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.”
APEC Leaders agreed that collectively they expect to reach the target of a ten percent improvement in supply chain performance by 2015, and this plan will strengthen Papua New Guinea’s capacity to play its part in reaching this goal.”