More details of Papua New Guinea’s APEC year revealed


Major infrastructure upgrades, visits to Papua New Guinea’s regions, and debate about how to maintain regional trade liberalisation in the face of growing anti-globalisation sentiment will be part of this year’s APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Port Moresby. But can PNG build on the momentum after it is over?

Charles Lepani, Director-General of the PNG APEC Authority, said at the Australia Papua New Guinea Business Forum in Brisbane that Jacksons International Airport’s capacity will be sufficient to manage the inflows and outflows on peak days.

Additional flights will be scheduled and parking capacity will also be upgraded. Additional aircraft will also ‘fly to nearby airports’, he said.

Jacksons Airport will have a runway extension, overlay and reinforcements, with apron refurbishments for VIP aircraft parking.

Charles Lepani. Source: BAI

Lepani added that ‘good progress’ is being made on the necessary infrastructure developments.

He pointed to the upgrade of the Poreporena Highway, with the help of Chinese government aid funding, a port facilities upgrade and reinforcements to take on three cruise ships and upgrades to Eda Ranu’s water supply, water quality testing and disposal of hard and soft waste.

Twenty-three of the forums, committees or working groups will be chaired by a Papua New Guinean.

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Lepani said it will be an opportunity to ‘showcase PNG’s culture and biodiversity’, including regional visits to Goroka Lae, Kavieng, Madang, Tabubil, Wewak, Buka and Tari.


Ambassador Ivan Pomaleu, Chair of APEC Senior Officials, said 9000 delegates are expected for Leaders’ Week in November this year and 15,000 delegates are expected in total.

‘The most important challenge is what happens after APEC.’

There will be six meetings per day for the first seven days. The aim is to propose policy themes that have ‘broad support by all economies’.

Ambassador Ivan Pomaleu Source: BAI

Pomaleu pointed to Peru’s experience with APEC, which it hosted in 2008. He said the country subsequently entered a period of sustained economic growth, which lifted 9 million people out of poverty.

‘PNG’s theme focuses on growth and bringing digital infrastructure and innovation technology into our economy.’

Pomaleu claimed there would be longer term benefits if PNG is willing to use the hosting outcomes as ‘an important platform’ to promote growth.

‘The most important challenge is what happens after APEC,’ he said.

Removing shackles

David Toua, Chairman of the APEC Business Advisory Council said the council meets four times a year to consider in depth the advice to be provided to leaders.

Toua argued the main threats are growing anti-globalisation sentiment and a rise in protectionism, which he said are ‘threatening the fabric’ of free and open trade.

He observed that the American establishment is ‘eschewing the concept of shared multilateralism or regionalism’, preferring to deal with other countries on a bilateral basis.

‘The concerns of other members of the APEC community is that as a major force for international rules that govern trade and investor relationships, the United States is seemingly vacating the field.

‘To counter anti-globalisation sentiment, ABAC is looking at the issue ‘at the level of the firm.’

‘Hopefully, this is a temporary relapse but it is a concern because this is at a time of rising global protectionism,’ said Toua.

To counter anti-globalisation sentiment, ABAC is looking at the issue ‘at the level of the firm’ to understand how to offset community concerns.

‘This work tells us that both business and governments have more to do in the areas of skills upgrade and retaining of workforces.

‘Based on its experience of open trade and investment, regional business wants more, not less, of the benefits and the obligations that come with the thoughtful [implementation] of regional processes and economic relationships.’

ABAC’s David Toua Source: BAI

‘The agenda is focused largely on ways to remove shackles that continue to inhibit trade services and investment flows.’


Toua said ABAC is looking at establishing a pathway to the Asia Pacific free trade area and at how it can be supported by the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

It is also looking at ‘ways to liberalise services and to give effect to the APEC services road map’ and at measures that have ‘led to the rapid growth of supply and value chains leading to strong integration to economic activity throughout the region.’

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