In brief: Russia and PNG to set up mutual embassies, and other business news

Russia plans to open an embassy in Port Moresby, the Australian Prime Minister announces relaxed visa rules for Pacific nations, and Crystal Kewe, the young app developer, wins a major APEC award. Your weekly digest of the latest business news.

in briefRussia has reportedly announced it will open an embassy in PNG. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill made the announcement during talks with the Russian delegation, which included Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, during APEC. O’Neill also said PNG would open an embassy in Russia but gave no timeline.

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Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a barbecue for Pacific Islands leaders at the Australian High Commission after the 2018 APEC forum. Source: AAP

The Pacific’s politicians, sports people and business travellers will reportedly be able to come and go from Australia with ease, as the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison pledges to treat the country’s regional neighbours as ‘family’.  A new multi-entry, multi-year visa card will be introduced for frequent travellers from Pacific nations to Australia from July 2019. Morrison revealed the new arrangements to Pacific leaders at APEC on Sunday.

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Twenty-year-old Papua New Guinean software engineer, Crystal Kewe, has been named the winner of the 2018 APEC Digital Prosperity Award, in recognition of her groundbreaking app for boosting grassroots participation in international trade. Kewe’s ‘Biluminous’ app helps local weavers of bilums tell their stories and connect with more customers and grow their business. Her award for this achievement was announced during the APEC Ministerial Meeting in Port Moresby.

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Following disturbances yesterday at Parliament Haus in Port Moresby reportedly caused to security forces protesting non-payment of APEC allowances, NCD Governor Powes Parkop issued a statement. ‘Schools should return to normal, shops should open and offices and business should operate as normal instantly. There is no cause for concern or worry. I call on everyone not to rely on rumours and fake news to cause an alarm and incite fear unnecessarily. The event today is regrettable but it’s under control and there is no reason to be fearful any more.’

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Cocoa farmers of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville have developed techniques for rearing hybrid clone cocoa using ice-block plastic and kitchen knives to bud. This innovation is said to have started because of high cost of buying budding tapes and budding knives, which are more than K200 each.

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PanAust delivered its September quarterly results with positive news for the Frieda River project. Work on an updated feasibility study and environmental impact statement for the Frieda River Copper-Gold Project—based on a shared-use infrastructure model that aligns with the Government of Papua New Guinea’s national development plans—continued during the quarter, the company said.

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Horizon Oil reportedly says it has achieved financial close for the US$95 million senior debt facility with ANZ, Westpac and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China announced earlier this month.

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Vitis Industries Limited will be distributing its honey products throughout the country next month. The new honey project is an addition to the other agricultural projects the company is involved with in Wau, Morobe Province.

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PNG-born Australians are discovering their citizenship could be at issue. Technically, people born in Papua prior to independence acquired Australian citizenship at birth. But most of them automatically became PNG citizens and lost their Australian status when PNG became independent in 1975—even if they still had Australian passports, or were eligible for citizenship through their family ties. Australia’s Department of Home Affairs (DHA) said it was unable to provide statistics as to how many people may be in the citizenship situation, or whether anyone born to an Australian parent in pre-Independence PNG had ever been deported from Australia.

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The biggest single resource found in the Pacific region is tropical tuna, commercial manager of Parties to the Nauru Agreement Morris Brownjohn says. At the APEC CEO Summit panel discussion on Saturday, he said the Pacific supplied half of the world’s skipjack tuna. ‘If we are harvesting a million tonnes of sustainable tuna in our waters, we should see the primary processing here, provide jobs here.’

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Photograph of the week

Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, with NCD Governor Powes Parkop. More than 100 vendors, mainly women, turned up to see Ardern open the new Gordon Market in Port Moresby. Source: PNG TV

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