Papua New Guinea’s APEC Ambassador and ABAC chair confident of successful summit


Papua New Guinea’s APEC year has started, with the first Senior Officials Meeting now under way in Port Moresby. Recent experience shows the year will be successful, according to the country’s APEC Ambassador, Ivan Pomaleu. David Toua, chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) says it is necessary to support globalisation.

The welcome awaiting APEC delegates this week at Jacksons International Airport. Credit: BAI

For the last three years, officials and ministers have been successfully hosting meetings in the lead-up to the 2018 APEC summit in Port Moresby, and that success demonstrates we can successfully host the key event this year: November’s Leaders’ Summit.

PNG’s APEC Ambassador, Ivan Pomaleu

That was the message from the country’s APEC Ambassador and Chair of APEC Senior Officials, Ivan Pomaleu, to business leaders at a business briefing last week.

He said a key meeting will be the first Senior Officials Meeting, which is  now running until 9 March. Some 3000 delegates will be in Port Moresby for a total of 78 meetings, with eight meetings running in parallel over the fortnight.

‘We are ready,’ he declared.


The 2018 APEC theme ‘Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities, Embracing the Digital Future’ is designed to provide a focus on empowering workers and businesses, to thrive in an age of digital disruption, he said.

There are three priorities throughout the PNG APEC year, said Pomaleu. They are:

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  • Improving Connectivity, and Deepening Regional Economic Integration;
  • Promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Growth; and,
  • Strengthening Economic Growth through Structural Reform.

‘With shifting global dynamics, next generation issues and ongoing challenges, it’s going to be quite interesting to see how these can be considered during a time when APEC looks to renew our vision for economic prosperity in the region,’ he said earlier.

‘There are new opportunities for growth and development but with these opportunities come challenges that we must acknowledge and manage.’


David Toua, PNG chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), said one of the challenges is to defend the benefits of globalisation.

‘We have seen rising income inequality as globalisation has occurred. This, and job dislocation, has caused the backlash against trade and investment flows, even though those flows have led to the largest eradication in global poverty ever seen.

‘Digitisation is challenging all aspects of human activity.’

The Business Council of PNG’s David Toua. Source: Business Council of PNG

‘The message is that business, as well as governments, have to work harder to address issues of rising income inequality, job losses and the need to upgrade human skills and training.

‘ABAC will continue to push for ways to create regional economic integration, including ways to free up service and investment to reduce or eliminate non-tariff barriers and to find ways for SMEs to access domestic and global value chains.’


Toua said ABAC supports ‘renewable energy policies as integral to energy security and sustainability.’

He observed that digitisation is ‘challenging all aspects of human activity: business, communication, services, research and education, the way we make and sell things.’

‘In October a Resource Industry Development Summit is planned in Port Moresby.’

ABAC’s aim, he said ‘is to develop business perspectives on frontier challenges to promote measures to encourage social absorption of technologies and entrepreneurship and to support a policy framework to upgrade human capital skills and training.’

A joint program between APEC and ABAC on food security is planned in August, said Toua.

‘This will bring together thought leaders on agricultural productivity, technology and its absorption, and experts on the global outlook for food and fisheries.’

In October, a Resource Industry Development Summit is planned in Port Moresby and in September an SME Symposium is planned. This will focus on ‘digitisation, technological innovation, entrepreneurship, e-commerce and the role of women.’

A Digital Innovation Forum, to be convened in Chinese Taipei and jointly organised by ABAC PNG and ABAC Chinese Taipei is also scheduled for July.


Toua said APEC is undertaking a ‘major soul-searching exercise’ about where it is headed after 2020, which he says ABAC can contribute to.

Pomaleu said that, on a personal note, he hoped the APEC meetings would ‘allow us to cast the spotlight on our policy inconsistencies and realign those policies, certainly in the area of Ease of Doing Business’.

During the year, nearly 70 committees of APEC will be meeting in PNG, culminating in the key Leaders’ Summit on 18 November, which will be chaired by PNG’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill.

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