PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill proposes that PNG and Fiji explore options for a free trade agreement between the two countries.
Addressing Fiji’s Parliament yesterday, he said: “Let’s look at how we can use our comparative advantages to lower prices for our people and value-add for our industries.
“I propose that our two countries look seriously at and consider the feasibility of a free trade agreement.”
O’Neill was the first PNG prime minister invited to speak in Fiji Parliament.
In a statement, he said: “As Melanesian brothers, and close bilateral partners, the friendship between Fiji and PNG continues to grow stronger.
“Together we are moving into new dimensions of trade and social engagement.
“Trade and investment is continuing on an upward climb. There are more companies from both countries investing than ever before.
“In areas such as hotels, banking and agriculture – we want to keep strengthening Papua New Guinea’s engagement with Fiji.
“The global political economy in which we live today is experiencing a lot of changes – with increased tension and geo-political competition.”
O’Neill said there were many issues such as climate change on which PNG and Fiji needed to work together to address.
“While we in the Pacific did not cause climate change, our villages and towns are suffering.
“We have to maintain pressure on industrialised countries to reduce their emissions.
“We must work together on other multilateral issues – particularly through the United Nations.
“Papua New Guinea is fully supportive of Fiji’s bid for representation at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
“As you know, Papua New Guinea is the host of Apec in 2018.
“Commencing Aug 4, the third round of senior officials’ meetings for 2018 will begin in Port Moresby.
“In keeping with our commitment to deliver a truly Pacific Apec, I am inviting the leaders of all Pacific Islands Forum members to attend Apec.
“Prime Minister (Frank) Bainimarama, I extend my invitation to you to attend the Apec Leaders’ Week.“