Delegation of the European Union to Liberia

EU Statement at the Trade Policy Review of Papua New Guinea, 8 May 2019

Geneva, 08/05/2019 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 190508_13
Local Statements

On behalf of the European Union I would like to welcome the Delegation from Papua New Guinea, led by H.E. Mr. Joshua KALINOE (Ambassador, Permanent representative to the WTO, Embassy of Papua New Guinea, Brussels) and thank the Discussant, H.E. Mr. Martins KREITUS (Latvia), for his introductory words.

The EU welcomes this opportunity to discuss the developments in Papua New Guinea’s trade policies and practices since the previous Trade Policy Review in 2010. The timing of this TPR coincides with the third Symposium on Natural Disasters and Trade and the Geneva Week for non-resident Members. This provides a good opportunity for small disaster-prone countries to discuss the link between trade and disaster resilience.

Mr Chairman, the EU would like to start by highlighting some of the main positive developments that we have seen during the review period.

The EU is encouraged by Papua New Guinea’s increasing openness to international trade: that during the review period, Papua New Guinea’s merchandise exports almost doubled from USD 5.5 billion in 2012 to USD 9.9 billion in 2017. As noted by the Chair and the Discussant, the long-term support from the European Union and an extensive consultation process have culminated in the country's first National Trade Policy in 2017, which will coordinate Government action for the next 15 years, covering the period 2017-2032, with the aim of making Papua New Guinea "an internationally competitive export-driven economy that is built on and aided by an expanding and efficient domestic market".

The EU also strongly welcomes Papua New Guinea’s leading role towards Pacific regional integration, as demonstrated by Papua New Guinea’s hosting last year of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings.

Papua New Guinea is a very good example of economic development as a result of effective EU-Pacific co-operation. The EU is a reliable and major supporter of Papua New Guinea’s economic development and a key partner in facilitating Papua New Guinea’s integration into the global marketplace.

Following the signature of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU in 2009, Papua New Guinea’s performance as one of the greatest success stories in EPA implementation is a real example for other countries in the region. Papua New Guinea’s cumulative exports to the EU more than tripled during 2009-2011 and then nearly doubled 2012-2015. The EU highly values the collaboration and efforts of Papua New Guinea towards strengthening our long-term trade and investment relations in the framework of the EPA.

The EU attaches great importance to trade and investment as agents of sustainable growth, job creation and poverty reduction in Papua New Guinea. That is why – in the context of the EPA – the EU introduced this highly preferential regime enjoyed by the Pacific States since 2008. The EPA has occasioned major new investments and thousands of jobs - mostly taken up by women - in Papua New Guinea, especially in the fish processing industry. Since concluding EPA negotiations, Papua New Guinea has enjoyed duty-free quota-free access for processed fish to the EU market with improved rules of origin. As a result, Papua New Guinea has substantially increased its processed non-originating tuna exports to the EU, which accounted for 16.5% of Papua New Guinea’s total exports to the EU in 2015.

The EU is committed to support Papua New Guinea to explore how the EPA success in the fisheries sector can be replicated in other priority value chains, such as cocoa, coffee, coconut, vanilla, etc.

The EU welcomes Papua New Guinea’s ratification in early 2018 of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation and the notification of its category A commitments under the TFA in 2016, which cover some 21% of all notifiable items.

As noted in the Secretariat’s report, Papua New Guinea has made few WTO notifications during 2010-18 and has outstanding notifications in several areas, including agriculture, import licensing procedures, quantitative restrictions, customs valuation, rules of origin, state trading enterprises, intellectual property rights, and GATS.

We heard from Ambassador Kalinoe that Papua New Guinea has made efforts in the SPS area. Still, the EU encourages Papua New Guinea to improve SPS legislation: there has been little progress since the previous TPR in 2010. There is still no notified SPS legislation on import requirements or other rules on food, animal or vegetable products, and no internet site with this information.

We take note that the authorities have requested technical assistance from the WTO Secretariat in area of notifications and urge Papua New Guinea to meet its notification requirements under the WTO with a view to enhancing transparency and predictability.

Substantial work remains for the Government to implement the National Trade Policy, and to operationalise the National Trade Office (NTO), both established in August 2017. The creation of a Single Window for traders would considerably simplify customs clearance and other procedures for business and the NTO has to play a key role with regards to coordinating the numerous government entities and agencies to ensure that they productively cooperate towards the establishment of this important new future.

To conclude, the EU welcomes the overall direction Papua New Guinea is taking in its trade policy and encourages to continue on this path.

The EU stands ready to provide further substantial technical assistance to Papua New Guinea via the 11th European Development Fund for the period 2014-2020, including through a substantial €85M new programme for support to rural entrepreneurship, investment and trade in Papua New Guinea and a Regional Indicative Programme (€37M) for support to regional economic integration, trade and private sector. Reflections on the next programming period (2021-2027) of EU- Papua New Guinea assistance have started ahead of the conclusion of a new EU-ACP accord to succeed the present Cotonou Agreement which will expire next year. The Papua New Guinea’s government will in due course be invited to share its views with the EU on this important matter. 

The EU submitted a number of questions and we look forward to reviewing the replies. On behalf of the EU, I look forward to a constructive exchange of views during this Trade Policy Review and wish Papua New Guinea the best of success during its third TPR since joining the WTO. If you do well with chocolates in Belgium, you are definitely on the right track and will do well elsewhere too.

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