Minister Pato boasts of strong diplomatic

PNG Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Rimbink Pato. Picture: RNZ

PORT MORESBY, 17 OCTOBER 2018 (POST COURIER) – The latest visit by the US Navy ship to the shores of PNG goes a long way to speak about the lasting relationship between the two countries.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Rimbink Pato said that the United States of America was a long-time friend and ally of PNG and links between the two countries stretched back decades and continued today.

“Missionaries from the USA introduced education, both secular and spiritual, as well as health care to many areas of PNG, including the Highlands and Enga in particular, my home province,” Mr Pato said.

“During World War II, the US armed forces established bases in pre-independent PNG and forged connections that endure to this day,” he said.

He said that in recent times, PNG and the USA have put effort into building and developing the relationship between the two countries.

“As Foreign Minister, I have held important meetings with prominent US leaders and cabinet officials, such as Hilary Clinton, and most recently, the Interior Minister Ryan Zinke, whom I also met at the Pacific Island Leaders’ Forum in Nauru as well as Under Secretary of State Mr David Hale and Mr Patrick Murphy of the US State Department,” he said.

Pato said that PNG had long welcomed further involvement of the USA in PNG in trade and investment, development partnerships in health and education, and security.

He said that PNG was looking forward with excitement to the visit of US Vice-President Mike Pence at the APEC Leaders’ Summit next month.

Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea has a promising future; and that investment, trade, and employment depends on trusted partners, says USA Ambassador to PNG Catherine Ebert-Gray

She was making the comments when supporting Papua New Guinea’s goals.

“A few weeks ago, the United States brought its first US trade delegation of eight major companies to PNG, introducing some of the most successful American businesses to the opportunities offered by this rich and diverse country,” Ebert-Gray said.

“Global brands like Johnson & Johnson, ConocoPhillips, General Electric, and 3M left Jackson’s Field impressed with what they learned. One company returns this month to more closely examine the potential of joining Exxon, Coca-Cola, KraftHeinz, The Hilton and other American brands here working to move Papua New Guinea forward through investment, jobs, and community development.

“Coupling this business interest, last week we briefed government officials on our US-PNG trade agreement known as the Generalized System of Preferences.

PNG agriculture, coffee, and minerals have long been free of U.S. tariffs, while under the GSP program, we now know that additional sea products, tropical goods, jewelry, manufactured items, and handicrafts like bilums also enjoy zero tariffs in the USA.

In our view, it is timely to expand trade between our two shores.

Ebert-Gray added in addition last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the signing of a new initiative, called the Act for Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development, introducing the new acronym BUILD.

“This Act provides opportunities for American companies to compete overseas and to create jobs in line with both PNG and US national economic strategies.

“BUILD advances our foreign policy goals by strengthening the U.S. government’s development finance capacity and compliments sources of financing provided by OPIC, which visited PNG last month to meet with emerging US businesses.”

“In addition to our activities on security and economic development, the US Embassy continues our partnership with Papua New Guinea in health services, promoting good governance, and in opening equal opportunities to women and men,” she said.

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