Dr Lino Tom, Papua New Guinea’s Fisheries Minister, described the signing of the Trade Protocol Agreement with China as a success. The agreement relates to the export of Live Marine Products to the Chinese market, and the signing took place during the Fisheries Sector’s trip to China. The minister added that the trip to China, with Prime Minister James Marape, was also successful.

Minister Tom said, “We successfully signed the Trade Protocol Agreements for the export of Live Marine Products to the Chinese market with the General Administration of Customs of the Republic of China (GACC).

“The particular agreements signed are … the Protocol on inspection, quarantine, and veterinary sanitary requirements for wild marine fishing aquatic products, and … the Protocol on Quarantine and Hygiene Requirement for Edible Aquatic Animals.”

The minister also noted that the Protocol on dead and/or frozen marine had been signed two years previously. This meant that 78 domestic enterprises now had direct access to the colossal market and could bypass intermediaries in Southeast Asian countries.

Minister Tom said, “This essentially means their profits can no longer be diluted and having direct access to a large market is a once in [a] lifetime opportunity for our people. The Chinese market is so large we will not be able to supply even a tiny fraction of it, even if our nation used our full potential of production and harvest of our marine products. The onus is on us now to take full advantage of this market access by complying with the requirements agreed to in this trade protocol agreement.

“As a responsible Government, we have ensured that access is fully granted. It is now incumbent on the companies and citizens who want to exploit these opportunities to start working hard,” he added.

“The other most important achievement was our meeting to consolidate and improve on meetings with a potential investor, The Wehei Fishing Association with its joint-venture partners the Shandong Port Group (one of the largest port groups in the world) and the Wehai Investment Group.

“This follows on from a meeting we had in 2019 where they signed a letter of intent to invest $300 million US in the fisheries sector. That was not progressed at that time, with the COVID-19 onslaught that year preventing their proposed visit. They now have expressed very strong intentions to invest in our country and will be sending a team to do their own due diligence in the next month or two.”

Minister Tom added, “We expressed our government’s priorities in two particular projects, which are the PMIZ and the Manus Ndrahukei Wharf and downstream fishing facilities. Hopefully, these arrangements are progressed, so we see some new investments in the fisheries sector.”