Prime Minister (PM) James Marape and Foreign Minister for Republic of Korea, His Excellency Park Jin, signed Reciprocal Visa Waiver Arrangements between Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Republic of Korea for Diplomatic and Official Passports today in Seoul, Korea.
The PM and his delegation flew off to Korea over the last weekend to attend the first Korea-Pacific Islands Summit in Seoul on May 29-30.
They arrived at the Incheon International Airport yesterday (28th May) morning and were received by the Republic of Korea’s Deputy Minister for Marine Policy Office H.E. Song Myeong-dal, the Minister for International Trade & Investment Richard Maru and delegation and the PNG High Commission to Korea Charge d’Affaires, Helen Aitsi.
PM Marape will also be having a bilateral meeting with Korean President H.E. Yoon Suk Yeol to discuss issues of climate change as well as furthering bilateral relations between Korea and pacific nations.
Korea-PNG trade was worth US$1.8 billion (K6.33 billion) in 2022, a massive 240 per cent increase from 2021, something that PM Marape will be looking to improve on.
“Trade volume in 2022 between Korea and Papua New Guinea recorded US$1.8 billion dollars, which was a 240 per cent increase compared to the previous year,” PM Marape said.
“I believe it shows how our economic relations are complementary to each other, which means there is greater potential for both development and cooperation.
“Korea and Papua New Guinea, and their economies, are complementary because Korea has the experience of growth and high-level technology, while PNG has high-growth potential as well as rich resources.
“Korea has grown from one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the G10 countries in the world, which is why we are wanting to establish win-win relations with them – based on mutual understanding.”
PM Marape said the big increase in trade between Korea and PNG had not gone unnoticed by his Government, and there was room for even more growth.
“I want to offer PNG as an investment destination for Korean companies, as well as for our producers to export to Korean markets,” he said.
“We have energy sources and raw materials. My Government is pushing for downstream processing and we will invite companies in relevant industries in Korea to come into our Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
I will be pushing for Korea to especially buy more of our coffee and fish.
“Our GDP (gross domestic product) is well-placed to expand rapidly in the next 10 to 15 years, based on the resources we have, so we are inviting companies from Korea to come and do business here.”
PM Marape assured the people of PNG that this Government was doing its best in difficult times to progress the country. “
Our Government is looking at every possible means to grow our economy at the very earliest. An expanded economy will ensure that we can finance all our development needs,” he said.
“This is why this Government places economic development at the forefront of our priorities, and when I travel overseas to countries like Korea, I do my best to promote PNG as an investment destination.”
Deputy PM John Rosso will be Acting PM until PM Marape returns next Thursday.