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PNG eyes deal on coconut oil

Papua New Guinea Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry Richard Maru said they had a keen interest in coconut oil.

"We don't want to export coconut oil anymore so if Fiji companies come here, I can organise for them to meet our coconut oil exporters so they can establish a joint venture," he said.

"They can organise a processing plant here where they can process all our coconut oil into high-end products."

He said this as PNG-Fiji Business Council president Graham Osborne said PNG's human resources were part of the incentives for potential investors.

With a population of more than seven million people, he said they had a lot of people for the workforce but reiterated the need for a skilled and educated workforce.

"There are plenty of people and I'm sure the government has some incentives for the people coming here.

"I think you'll find that the Melanesian Spearhead Group now we have an open policy as far as tax is concerned.

"You'll see a lot more trade between Fiji and Melanesian countries like PNG in the future."

In terms of the security risks associated with starting a business in PNG, Mr Osborne said the country had changed over the years.

He said he had seen a big class of Papua New Guineans coming through over the past two decades.

"They're good. Before when we had a bit of lawlessness, nobody had money. Like every other city in the world, the homeless and the people who caused trouble always go to the city because that's where people are.

"We are not getting into that right now because the money is trickling down. The gas project hasn't even started yet as far as delivering but the people are out there and are ready to go. PNG has so much to offer."

Meanwhile, in a Ministry of Information statement yesterday, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has proposed the establishment of a Fiji Trade Mission office in Papua New Guinea to boost Fiji's economic presence in the growing Melanesian economy.

Commodore Bainimarama flew out to New York where he will chair a series of meetings on the G77+China Group.

(Source: The Fiji Times)