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Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape met with his Solomon Islands counterpart Manasseh Sogavare in Port Moresby Monday.
Marape said the government of Papua New Guinea is looking forward to working with the government of Solomon Islands to strengthen bilateral relationships.
Both leaders discussed issues of mutual interest which being border security, Bougainville referendum, economic, trade and investment, labour mobility and employment opportunities, and the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
Marape said both countries are looking at how they can participate in their respective economies.
“There are more PNG businesses in the Solomon Islands as well,” Marape said.
The prime minister revealed that figures in 2015 show that PNG exported K34.35 million (US$10 million) worth of goods and services and imported K14.57 million (US$4.2 million), and had a trade surplus of K19.78 million (US$5.8 million).
He said major PNG investments in Solomon Islands include New Britain Palm Oil Limited, Lamana Group of Companies, Bank South Pacific, Credit Corporation and other companies that are based in the country and have branches in Solomon Islands.
“We also share an interest in the Bougainville Referendum activities and the government of Solomon Islands has indicated that they are on standby to help deliver a successful referendum for the people of the of Bougainville.”
Marape indicated to the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands that he plans to pay a visit to his country early next year.
He also acknowledges and respects the Solomon Islands government’s decision to align with the government of the People’s Republic of China.
He said it is the government’s sovereign decision which he is confident can yield good development outcomes for Solomon Islands, given the many economic opportunities that China has on offer.
Marape said China is a big economy that Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and other countries in the region can look at for market access to export local produce and products.
Other issues discussed were people to people exchanges, education, capacity building, and tourism and fisheries cooperation.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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