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Mineral-rich PNG saw sevenfold increase over decade

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 2, 2011) – In Papua New Guinea (PNG), ANZ chief executive officer Mike Smith said yesterday that trade between PNG and Asia was at record levels with exports to China increasing seven-fold in the past decade, highlighting the growing connections between Asia and the Pacific.

Mr. Smith highlighted the economic data in Lae as part of a tour of six Pacific countries with ANZ Chief Executive Officer Pacific Michael Rowland.

The trend was replicated across the Pacific, which increased exports to China by 77 percent for the first 11 months in 2010 compared to 2009 and was on track to reach an estimated record of US$1.2 billion more than eight times the amount recorded in 2001.

Imports from China into the region are also strong and passed US$1 billion for the first time in 2010.

"Over the next five years, emerging markets are expected to account for more than 50 percent of global economic growth and Asia particularly China will be the most significant driver of world growth. The Pacific has a great opportunity to capitalize on its proximity to Asia and the growing connections it has with the region. Maximizing these opportunities will lead to increased economic development in the Pacific and will underpin improved prosperity for the Pacific’s people," Mr. Smith said.

As part of his visit to PNG, Mr. Smith also opened ANZ’s Business Centre in Lae and hosted a luncheon for ANZ’s top customers. His visit follows the recent launch of ANZ’s new corporate wardrobe, the launch of PNG Mineral Resources Authority’s Online Store, enabled by ANZ eGate and the launch of beMobile phone top up service at ANZ ATMs nationwide.

It’s the third time Mr. Smith has visited the country in just over a year. On this tour, he is also visiting the Solomon Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Fiji and New Caledonia.

"We have big plans for our Pacific business this year. We intend to introduce a faster, lower cost way for people to remit money back to the Pacific, we’ll launch a new level of service for our affluent customers and we’ll continue to explore how we can use mobile phones to improve banking services for people living in remote areas," said Mr. Smith.

"I’m also delighted with the progress we’re making to develop national talent in all our Pacific countries including Papua New Guinea and recently we appointed our first Pacific national, Ann Steele, to an executive position as Head of Human Resources for the Pacific, based in Fiji," Mr. Smith said.

ANZ employs more than 2000 people and operates 60 branches in 12 Pacific countries.

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