Wednesday 22 March 2023

Trade between Papua New Guinea and the Republic of Korea was worth US$1.8 billion (K6.33 billion) in 2022, a massive 240 per cent increase from 2021, according to a high-level Korean delegation visiting PNG.

The delegation is made up of politicians, government officials and leaders of business in Korea.

Delegation leader Park Byeong-seug, who is representing Korean President H.E. Yoon Suk Yeol, revealed this to Prime Minister Hon. James Marape during a meeting at Sir Manasupe Haus in Port Moresby yesterday (Tuesday March 21 2023).

He said this was largely due to the leadership of PM Marape.

In his briefing, Mr Park Byeong-seug said trade volume in 2022 between both countries, recorded US$1.8 billion dollars, which was a 240 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

“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 Korea is wanting to establish win-win relations with PNG – based on mutual understanding.”

Mr. Byeong-seug invited PM Marape, on behalf of President Yoon, to attend the first Korea-Pacific Islands Summit in Seoul in May, to discuss issues of climate change as well as furthering bilateral relations.

He also asked for PNG’s support to host World Expo2030 in Busan, which PM Marape pledged.

“Korea sees Papua New Guinea as the hub nation of Pacific Island countries and values the potential of bilateral relations for both cooperation and development,” Mr. Byeong-seug said.

In response, Prime Minister 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 my country as an investment destination for Korean companies, as well as for our producers to export to your country’s markets.

“We have energy sources and raw materials, and my government is pushing for downstream processing and we invite companies in relevant industries in your country to come into our Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

“Our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 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 friends of PNG – including Korea – to come and do business here,” Mr Marape told the Korean delegation.

Mr Marape however added that there were several outstanding bilateral issues between Korea and PNG over many years which needed to be resolved.