Chinese fishery firm signs deal with Papua New Guinea
A Chinese fishing company has signed an agreement to invest in a new fisheries-focused industrial park in Papua New Guinea.
Fujian Zhong Hong Yu Ye Co. signed the agreement with Papua New Guinea Fisheries Minister Lino Tom, and Taboi Yoto, governor of PNG’s western province, to invest in the construction of the Comprehensive Multifunctional Fishery Industrial Park. Details of the new fisheries industrial park remain scant but may sync with a local government quest for increased value add activity in tuna.
Headquartered in the capital Port Moresby, the National Fisheries Authority has sought investors to build out its tuna processing industry, with much of the catch traditionally shipped to Japan and South Korea, as well as to processing plants in the Philippines.
“China is the world’s biggest consumer market and a vast opportunity for Papua New Guinea,” Xue Bing China’s ambassador in Port Moresby, said at the signing ceremony, according to a statement on the signing from the Chinese Commerce Ministry.
Papua New Guinea has in recent years been looking for a free trade deal with China, and in June, Xue signed an agreement to ensure Papuan seafood can be exported directly to China.
The interest appears to be mutual, as several Chinese fishing companies have sought to increase their presence in Papua New Guinea. Led by governor Nakikus Konga, a delegation from East New Great Britain province traveled to China in October 2018 to meet with several Fujian fishing firms, among them Zhong Hong. Papuan officials also last year inspected safety and tracking devices aboard six vessels of the tuna-focused Wenzhou Da Zhou Distant Water Fishing Co., accompanied by company executives and officials from local government in Dontou County, near the city of Wenzhou, a major export-focused manufacturing hub. During the tour, Wenzhou Da Zhou General Manager Yang Jin Ying said entering Papua New Guinea would represent the “most cherished wish” of his company.
Papuan Prime Minister James Marape has in the past year drawn closer to China, even as the country’s traditional ally and southern neighbor, Australia, has seen its relationship with China deteriorate. Marape has stated he wants a free trade deal with China and wants to restructure the national debt with Chinese loans.
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