PRIME Minister Hon. James Marape is making a call on Australian businesses to consider importing more from Papua New Guinea to balance the disproportionate import-vs-export scale that the two countries have existing between them.

He also wants to see more Australian investors partner with PNG to move his Government’s goals on downstream processing and industrialisation closer to realisation.

The Prime Minister said this today (170822) as he apologised to the PNG-Australia Business Council for his non-attendance at its recently-concluded conference because of urgent work commitments, but thanked the Council at the same time for continually hosting these forums that keep in the public and investor consciousness trade and investment between the two countries.

The Prime Minister said: “I thank the council for its continued conferences, seminars and forums but what else will they hear from me?

“I have been speaking my mind since 30 May 2019. They know me. I am pro-Papua New Guinea business while I encourage strongly foreign businesses who let Papua New Guinean partnership and engagement.

“We want to Take Back More from our natural and national wealth with a balanced view that our genuine foreign investors make a return on their investments.

“We want to move now into industrialisation by tapping into downstream processing of our natural resources.

“I want to ask Australia companies to seriously partner PNG companies in the area of PNG building a stronger diversified economy and it is about time Australia buy more of PNG’s products.”

While appreciating the sturdy relationship already existing between the two countries, the Prime Minister pointed out that new heights could be reached if Australia could push its trade & investment boundaries further by exploring these named options.

“Australia and PNG businesses have had a relationship for along time and that is good but we need to reach new heights. With Australia as a place of export for our products, we have a huge trade imbalance where we import more and export less to Australia.

“We want to send our food, our energy, our finished forest products, and our human resources at all levels to Australia.

“I was at Singapore organising our diplomatic mission to be at the front of our trade, commerce and business engagements with South-East, North and West-Asia where we have over 2 billion people in these markets.

“I am serious about downstream processing of our resources to make an economic leap for PNG. This includes our creating a law-abiding and orderly country, finding cheap energy and using PNG’s bilateral relationships to secure markets for our products.

“It is about time PNG and Australia as close nations politically become even more closer in by having Australian business buying PNG products and hiring PNG workforce.

“Areas like replacing food imports is something I am looking at very seriously so we stop capital flights elsewhere but grow PNG.

“If PNG is stronger economically then Australia and the region benefits with a secure solid nation of millions of people.”