APEC hailed by organisers as a success for Papua New Guinea despite tensions


Papua New Guinea’s hosting of APEC 2018 was a success, say three senior figures involved in its organisation. Ivan Pomaleu, PNG’s APEC Ambassador, suggests that the country achieved all of its goals in spite of the lack of a consensus within the group of 21 nations.

PNG’s APEC Ambassador Ivan Pomaleu Source: APEC

Justin Tkatchenko, Minister for Lands and Physical Planning, said APEC improved PNG’s international profile.

‘We have proved all our critics wrong and have successfully hosted one of the biggest events of our history.

‘I like to think that, in a roundabout way, we helped with the discussions.’

‘We have now put Papua New Guinea on the map, like never before.’

Key projects

PNG’s APEC Ambassador Ivan Pomaleu acknowledged there were some tensions in the meeting between China and the United States.

‘PNG was trying to referee a couple of big boys in the room—that was interesting.

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‘I like to think that, in a roundabout way, we helped with the discussions.

‘Good outcomes are those which are relevant to the different levels of stakeholders.’

‘Were we successful? PNG initiated a number of key projects for 2018. We hosted and supported our deliverables.

‘We achieved 100 per cent of what we set out to achieve.’


Pomaleu believes there were some key lessons from the APEC experience.

‘Prepare well, get plenty of practice, build capacity, stick to a core number of ideas and deliver those well.

‘Keep a good balance between local issues and ongoing issues relevant to bigger economies.

‘Good outcomes are those which are relevant to the different levels of stakeholders, especially those at the lower end. And be creative.’

‘We received many commitments from our friends in APEC, from the other 20 economies.’

Pomaleu said the key challenges tend to be the same for each APEC economy; the only difference is in scale.

‘Geopolitical issues between large economies continue to prevail, which will affect discussions within APEC.

‘APEC PNG 2018 reminded APEC that we need to restate our fundamental principles in the context of prevailing, as well as emerging, challenges.’


ABAC’s David Toua Source: APEC

David Toua, Chairman of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) said that the summit was ‘successful and incident free.’

He said it marked a ‘sharp turn’ in PNG’s international profile.

‘It was quite a meeting and it is with great regret from a PNG perspective that the (final) declaration didn’t materialize as the headline outcome of 2018.

‘But when you talk about the outcomes of the program, we received many commitments from our friends in APEC from the other 20 economies.’

Toua pointed to the Papua New Guinea Electrification Partnership and ‘offers of educational assistance’ from China and Australia.

‘We have received assistance and commitments from New Zealand in the area of health—specifically polio vaccination.

‘The Philippines have come forward and offered financial capacity to build the rice industry.

‘The CEO Summit did have a strong focus on the mining and resource sector that is so important to PNG.’

Toua added that the meeting enhanced members’ understanding of the major role that APEC plays in the region’s architecture.

‘Was APEC successful? You bet it was.’


Toua said ABAC recommended continuing support of the international trading system and continuing with multilateral efforts to modernise the World Trade Organization to ‘keep pace with modern business needs.’

A second recommendation was to urge engagement with civil society to explain the benefits of trade liberalization and its role in creating income growth for lower and middle economic groups.

Another recommendation was to ‘fully leverage the digital age for enhanced opportunities for all.’

Toua said ABAC recommended moving towards a low carbon society.

‘The CEO Summit did have a strong focus on the mining and resource sector that is so important to PNG.

‘What was particularly pleasing was the value placed by industry leaders on messages and policies of the PNG Government.’

No consensus

Pomaleu said no consensus was reached with five out of 86 paragraphs in the final Annual Ministerial Meeting (AMM) statement.

‘The stock paragraphs all related to the World Trade Organisation, Bogor Goals and Quality Infrastructure.’

Likewise, no consensus was reached with three of the 29 paragraphs of the Leaders Declaration.

In the end, PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill issued the Era Kone statement, in his position as Chair of the APEC 2018, which summarised the prevailing views expressed at the meeting.


  1. Emmanuel lapan says

    We thank the initiatives who initiate the APEC for the greater transformation of our country

  2. Fidelis kundi says

    We were told that we would have 12,000 visitors but less than 4000 turned up, about 3500.
    Then there was the claim made that the visitors would spend millions in the economy, but firstly the city was closed and secondly they were told it was too dangerous to move around.

    these dignitaries were subsidised by the PNG tax payer

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