PNG SEES ITSELF AS WORLD’S BIGGEST TUNA PRODUCER

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Official predicts supremacy by 2014

By Pearson Kolo PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 14, 2010) – Papua New Guinea is expected to emerge as the world’s largest tuna processor after 2014.

This would become possible once PNG catches, processes, and sells the final product of tuna to the European Union (EU) markets and other markets in the world.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigrations Sam Abal said this last week after returning from Europe where he had a follow up meeting with the European parliamentary committee (EUPC) on international trade in Brussels.

Abal who was accompanied by the Fisheries Minister Ben Semri and senior executives of the National Fisheries Authority said the meeting was in preparation for the EUPC to finalise the interim economic partnership agreement (IEPA) signed in 2007 between PNG and EU.

"Under the IEPA agreement, fish caught anywhere in the world which is processed on shore in PNG can be exported to the European Union duty-free," Abal explained.

"Other countries supplying fish to the European markets are also pushing for similar preferential market access so it is in PNG’s interest to defend the IEPA for its own fish products."

Abal said more than US$400 (K1 billion) million had already been committed by potential investors who want to set up fishing and processing industries in the country.

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