THE European Union is willing to assist PNG Customs in streamlining its procedures to boost investments and creating job opportunities for the country. European Union Chargé d’affaires Maria-Cruz Cristóbal made the following remark during a recent workshop adding that the objective is to ensure that free market access is maintained to help “Made in PNG” products to continue to have a lucrative market in the EU to create more jobs and income in PNG. Ms Cristobal emphasised that the European Union values the EU-PNG Trade Agreement and encourages setting ambitious targets corresponding to PNG’s high trade potential.
She said the Trade Agreement (iEPA) is already delivering strong benefits in terms of investments and jobs for Papua New Guineans as a result there is already an increase of PNG exports to the EU to €986 million in 2012 (over K3 billion), most of which is non-minerals exports (fisheries and marine resources, coffee, cocoa, tea, palm oil, spices and rubber) and in the creation of some 50,000 jobs in PNG in the fisheries sector alone. “The European Union has become Papua New Guinea’s second largest export market for non-mineral products, accounting for 9.2 per cent of total exports. “The European Union will continue to work closely with PNG to help draw the maximum benefit out of the bilateral trade agreement for sustainable green development,” she said. Meanwhile representatives from both the public and private departments have collaborated together at a three-day workshop held in Port Moresby late last month. This is to finalise an Economic Partnership Agreement Rules of Origin Handbook to facilitate and support the implementation of the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA) between European Union – PNG. The handbook aims to set out clear guidelines under which iEPA Rules of Origin should be applied, with corresponding interpretations and recommendations that will provide Customs and Fisheries officers, as well as private sector, with solid reference to ensure compliance with the trade agreement as well as to promote trade facilitation agreements.
The handbook will be a dynamic document that will be subject to amendment and review where necessary and appropriate, to reflect changes in international trade practices and national regulations on Rules of Origin preferential rules.