PM O’Neill said the meeting with H.E Hollande was significant as Papua New Guinea and France increase economic and cultural ties through the new Papua LNG project.
“The distance between two countries is increasingly irrelevant in the world of modern communications and transportation, and we are seeing our relationship with France go from strength to strength,” the Prime Minister said after the meeting.
“While we have enjoyed 40 years of diplomatic relations it is only now that trade and cultural relations are increasing, and they are increasing rapidly with more French nationals moving to Papua New Guinea to live and work.
“President Hollande expressed his satisfaction with the increasing strength of our relationship that we both agree will only improve as our work together evolves.
“France has always had an affinity for the Pacific and through French Polynesia and New Caledonia that relationship has been continued.
“Now with our strengthening relationship direct with France I hope we will see an increase in business and tourism.
“France is increasingly our trade gateway to Europe and we would like to see Papua New Guinea become a significant hub for France in the Pacific.
“Our agricultural produce and fisheries have a ready market in France.
“We continue to implement measures as part of our Economic Partnership Agreement. “Already we export canned tuna duty free to France, and we are seeking to expand to other areas including agriculture, forestry, and minerals.
“At the same time French equipment is in increasing demand in the Pacific such as ATR aircraft, vehicles, and also mining and industrial equipment.
“Papua New Guinea has made an undertaking to welcome French professionals and instructors with welcome arms as part of the TOTAL SA-led Papua LNG Project.
“The Papua LNG Project is going to generate 10,000 jobs in Port Moresby and 3,000 new jobs in Gulf Province, and hundreds of French workers will come and live with us.
“I thank President Hollande for his support to Papua New Guinea and I look forward to him visiting our country in the near future.” Press release