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JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya (January 4, 2001 – ANTARA/Kabar-Irian)---Trade between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) is sluggish due to the economic crisis and the unstable political situation in the country, a local official said.

This is evident in the decrease in activities between businessmen of Indonesia’s Irian Jaya province and Papua New Guinea last month, the provincial trade and industry office’s head for international trade, Decky Rumbiak, told reporters here Wednesday.

Rumbiak said the provincial administration sent a trade delegation to Papua New Guinea last September 8-30 to explore investment opportunities in the neighboring country, particularly in Port Moresby and Lae, capital of Morobe province.

During the visit, the Irianese businessmen promoted Irian Jaya’s products, such as asphalt, household utensils, garments and furniture, he said.

A memorandum of understanding on establishing trade relations between the two countries’ respective chambers of commerce and industry was also signed during the meeting, he added.

"However, through the end of 2000, there was no sign of any trade between the Indonesian and Papuan businessmen," he said.

However, Rumbiak noted that the Irianese Company, PT Wuar Boo Mun, had opened a representative office in Vanimo, capital of Papua New Guinea’s Sandaun province.

The company, he said, has been promoting its products, such as asphalt from by an oil refinery in Cilacap, Central Java.

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