1 Dec 2012

PNG's O'Neill wants country to be key a exporter to Asia

10:46 am on 1 December 2012

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister says he wants to position his country as a key energy, minerals and food exporter to the Asian region.

Addressing the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney yesterday, Peter O'Neill said PNG intends taking advantage of the rise of powerful Asian economies.

He said PNG would soon count China as its second-biggest trading partner after Australia.

The government is to devote billions to roads, law and order, airports and ports over the coming years as part of a drive to foster greater productivity from PNG's mainly rural based population.

Securing the transport links for PNG's developing liquefied natural gas industry is also a central aim.

Mr O'Neill says that PNG is well placed to help meet the Asia region's growing energy needs, but that it is not going to be without significant challenges.

He indicated that these include lifting productivity, especially agricultural output.