UK businesses to get more exposure to Papua New Guinea produce


Last year, the United Kingdom government used major sporting events like the Commonwealth Games and the Rugby League World Cup to showcase Papua New Guinea coffee. Keith Scott, the UK’s High Commissioner to PNG, tells Business Advantage PNG of further plans to encourage more business with post-Brexit Britain.

Keith Scott

British High Commissioner to PNG, Keith Scott.

Following an economic partnership agreement with PNG in 2019 – necessitated by the UK’s departure from the European Union – the UK’s trade partnership program (TPP) subsequently funded support for small coffee producers in PNG.

It saw five local SMEs receive advice on marketing and branding, was well as attending trade fairs across the UK and Europe.

‘These trade fairs have helped Europe’s big coffee buyers understand the PNG coffee market, while local growers now have a better idea of what these markets want,’ Keith Scott the British High Commissioner to PNG tells Business Advantage PNG.

’91 per cent of the huge £150 million (K657 million) surplus in PNG’s favour can be attributed to palm oil from New Britain Province’

‘As a result of these trade fairs, last year two local companies started selling single-sourced coffee into Warrington, a northern town in the UK,’ says Scott.

2022 also saw UK supermarket chain Tesco begin buying Marine Stewardship Council-certified tuna from PNG via UK food and beverage group Princes.

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Scott would like to open the eyes of UK businesses to a much broader range of PNG exports, and flagged cocoa as a potential area for future support. A streamlining of the visa application process, adds Scott, could also encourage more Australian-based British businesspeople to visit the country.

‘We’re encouraging the UK business community that visits Australia to take a look at PNG and we also want PNG to look at where the UK really has a business resource advantage,’ says Scott.

‘We expect £2 million (about K8.6 million) to be available to help improve energy access for remote PNG communities’

While total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and PNG was £205 million (K898 million) in 2022 – up 35.8 per cent on 2021 – Scott notes that 91 per cent of the huge £150 million (K657 million) surplus in PNG’s favour can be attributed to palm oil from New Britain Province.

New developments

To encourage bilateral trade with PNG, the UK’s export credit agency, UK Export Finance which offers financing (by granting guarantees to commercial banks), export credits and insurance, recently increased its country exposure limit for PNG from £1.5 billion to £2 billion.

‘There is a lot of UK funding for green energy initiatives, and we expect £3.5 million to be available to help improve solar access for remote PNG communities through off-grid electrification,’ says Scott.

Meantime, the UK is also helping with a study to identify how PNG can develop and monetise its forestry resources in a sustainable manner.

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