Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. James Marape expressed his appreciation for the increasing trade ties between Guangdong, a prominent Chinese province, and Papua New Guinea during a meeting with Guangdong Governor H.E. Wang Weizhong on Thursday, June 22, 2023. The discussions revealed a substantial surge of 265.2 percent in trade volume between Guangdong and PNG from January to May this year.

Prime Minister Marape graciously accepted Governor Wang’s invitation to visit Guangdong during his upcoming trip to China later this year.

Also at the meeting were National Capital District Governor Hon. Powes Parkop, State Enterprises Minister Hon. William Duma, Fisheries Minister Hon. Jelta Wong, Internal Security Minister Hon. Peter Tsiamalili Jr, other MPs and senior public servants.

Known as China’s economic powerhouse, Guangdong boasts the largest and fastest-growing economy in terms of GDP among the 31 provinces and municipalities in mainland China. It is home to the influential Pearl River Delta (PRD) Economic Zone, along with the Shantou, Shenzhen, and Zhuhai Special Economic Zones.

Governor Wang stated, “Import and export trade between Guangdong Province and Papua New Guinea reached an impressive US$477 million (K1.6 billion) last year, marking a notable increase of 93.28 percent. The positive momentum has continued to strengthen, with import and export trade between our regions growing by 265.2 percent from January to May this year.”

Expressing his satisfaction with the flourishing trade and investment levels, Prime Minister Marape emphasised, “The trade partnership between our two regions has seen a remarkable growth of over 200 per cent. However, there is still ample room for expansion, and we are eager to foster further collaborations with your province.”

Recognising Guangdong as PNG’s primary trading partner in China, Prime Minister Marape commended Governor Wang’s leadership, stating, “Guangdong stands as a shining example of a prosperous Chinese province. We warmly welcome investors from your province and encourage the continued strengthening of relationships between our capital city and your province and cities. It is a pleasure to have you here for the second time, and you are most welcome.”

Prime Minister Marape also highlighted the establishment of special economic zones within Port Moresby and other regions across the country, stating, “We are creating special economic zones within Port Moresby, as well as in other parts of our country. I invite you to become a friend of our nation and to promote Papua New Guinea as a prime business destination.”

Furthermore, Prime Minister Marape expressed PNG’s willingness to provide land to Chinese investors interested in forestry, fisheries, oil and gas, and other sectors.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Marape informed Governor Wang about Chinese President H.E. Xi Jinping’s longstanding connection with PNG, which dates back to 1998 when President Xi was Governor of Fujian Province. Notably, President Xi played a significant role in establishing the Lufa Mushroom Project in Eastern Highlands.

Highlighting this historical association, Prime Minister Marape shared his recent visit to Lufa, where he was presented with mushrooms cultivated through the Chinese project, stating, “Your President is a true friend of Papua New Guinea. Even when he served as Governor of Fujian Province, he maintained a special relationship with Eastern Highlands Province. Some of the projects he initiated, such as the Lufa Mushroom Project, continue to thrive.”

Emphasising the enduring connection between the Chinese people and PNG, Prime Minister Marape acknowledged the long history of Chinese influence in the country, stating, “Chinese people have been a part of Papua New Guinea for over 200 years. Many of our foundational businesses were established by Papua New Guineans of Chinese origin. You are not among strangers but amidst a nation and people with strong ties not only to the People’s Republic of China but also to the Chinese people.”

Prime Minister Marape expressed his gratitude to President Xi for elevating China-PNG relations to a higher level and thanked China for its status as PNG’s largest trading partner. He concluded by reaffirming the vital role that Guangdong plays in the friendly and cordial relationship between China and PNG.