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Old 24-10-2003, 01:30 PM
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Sir Michael returns from Bangkok , satisfied with outcome of APEC Summit

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, returns from the 11th APEC Leaders' Summit tomorrow, satisfied with the outcome of the meeting.

Sir Michael said he had the opportunity to meet with other leaders during their APEC interactive sessions, including the President of the Philippines, Gloria Aroyo, Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, Malaysian Prime Minister, Mohammed Mahathir, and US President, George Bush.
Sir Michael also had bilateral meetings with the Prime Minister of
Singapore, Mr Goh Chok Tong, and the President of the People's Republic of China, Mr Hu Jintao.

The Prime Minister also said that the Thai government was an excellent host, and that he and his delegation were overwhelmedby the Thai hospitality.

"Thailand has set the benchmark for future APEC Leaders' meetings but I am confident Chile will be an equally excellent host for the next summit," he said.

The Prime Minister's visit to the Thai Kingdom was accorded working visit status, enabling Sir Michael to hold bilateral discussions with his Thai counterpart, Dr Thaksin Shinawtra, and his Defence Minister, General Thammarak Isarangura.

The Prime Minister said the bilateral meetings gave him the opportunity to promote, as well as enhance, Papua New Guinea's trade and investment interests, which was also reinforced in the ensuing APEC Leaders' Declaration.

He said the Leaders' Declaration is consistent with Papua New Guinea's goals and aspirations.

"PNG agreed with other APEC economies to keep the discussions on WTO Doha Development Agenda and work towards balanced outcome, and to make APEC's trade agenda more supportive of the WTO through the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment.

"We also agreed to work closely with the APEC Business AdvisoryCouncil (ABAC) and the business community to implement the Shanghai Accord and Los Cabos directives to facilitate business activity in the APEC region.

"These include issues of APEC BUSINESS Card and the advance passenger listing and basic immigration issues that would further facilitate movement of business people within APEC," Sir Michael said. The Leaders' also agreed to continue to fight corruption and promote transparency in trade within APEC.

"In terms of Free Trade Agreements and Regional trade Agreements, we agreed as Leaders that this would pave the way for further progress if these were linked to the WTO discussions," he said.

The Prime Minister said that in terms of the Brunei Goals of Information Communication Technology, most economies agreed that a literate society forms the basis of good economic development and therefore every effort and assistance should be given to member economies to move toward fulfilling the
Brunei Goals.

PNG has been offered assistance from Taiwan and Singapore who are willing to set-up an IT Center and training for our people, respectively.

"PNG also supports the initiative undertaken by APEC to establish a regional bond market and is committed to this initiative.

"Bond markets will be particularly beneficial to smaller and developing economies like Papua New Guinea, because lack of capital continues to impede on the economic progress and development.

"The bond market will provide an alternative source or new opportunities for Papua New Guinea and other smaller economies to access capital to fund key investments, which are vital to our economies.

"We believe that the bond market will also provide the opportunity for smaller economies to establish the necessary platforms for active participation in achieving BOGOR Goals," he said.

Sir Michael said that Papua New Guinea is committed to participating in the regional bond market and is looking forward to larger or advanced economies to provide necessary technical support to develop appropriate legislative,
institutional and regulatory frameworks.

Sir Michael said that PNG has a large informal sector, where 80 per cent of the population is based.

"We therefore also agreed to double efforts to integrate people into the global economy through the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME).

"PNG acknowledges the work undertaken by APEC to help member countries in the development of (SMEs and Micro-Enterprises through various strategic interventions.

"The development of SMEs and Micro-Enterprise is critically necessary to engage the population in productive activities.

"We believe that through SMEs and Micro-Enterprise will not only provide the impetus for economic growth but also more importantly alleviate poverty, which is of greater concern to the international communities including members of APEC.

"Our main emphasis is development of Micro-Enterprises, because we believe that by helping our people to engage in small enterprises, at a micro-level, it will create income and employment opportunities at a sustainable level," he said.

Sir Michael however, said that PNG, like other developing economies, is constrained by lack of transport and ommunications infrastructure institutional capacity and finance.

"We would appreciate and welcome assistance from larger and advanced economies through provision of funds and technical assistance for the development of legislative, institution and regulatory framework for the development and expansion of SMEs and Micro-Enterprise," he concluded.


SOMARE GCMG CH
Prime Minister

PNG Prime Minister (in focus) chatting with one of PNG's leading author, Sir Paulus Matane
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