A business meeting entitled “Russia – Papua New Guinea: perspectives of cooperation” was held on May 13, 2019, in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, organized by the Miklouho-Maclay Foundation with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and industry, “Maclay Investments” Company, with participation of the Business community of Papua New Guinea.
The meeting was opened by the Director of the Miklouho-Maclay Foundation for Preservation of Ethnocultural Heritage, Nickolay Miklouho-Maclay, who underlined the historical significance of this event that marks a new phase in the bilateral economic relations between our two nations. He then gave the floor to the Ambassador of Russia, Lyudmila Vorobieva, who gave her opening remarks and pointed out the following: The APEC Summit held in November 2018 was a great success. Within the framework of the Summit, a number of substantive talks took place, in which participants debated pertinent issues. The Ambassador thanked Nickolay Miklouho-Maclay for hosting the meeting and vigorous efforts towards strengthening partnership in Papua New Guinea.
I would like to point out that we are moving our agenda forward on a stable and progressive basis, and this meeting represents the result of prior agreements. The Ambassador drew the attention to the fact that the work on facilitating the mutual exemption from visa requirements is underway, which is bound to increase the tourist flow from Russia. Papua New Guinea is a country which has immense economic potential, being one of the leading exporters of tea, coffee, spices, seafood, and cocoa beans.
With regards to the educational and humanitarian spheres, there already exist certain objectives we are willing to act upon: namely, student exchange programs that will allow PNG students to study in Russia, and the construction of a hospital in Madang.
The Ambassador also noted that Russia is a Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) member, which united more than 200 mln consumers, and by entering the Russian market one enters the market of 200 mln people.
The Director of the Miklouho-Maclay Foundation then took the floor and presented the Foundation’s key goals, the principal one being the facilitation of bilateral relations between Russia and Papua New Guinea. Over the last 2 years, the Foundation, in conjunction with its partners from Russia and PNG, mounted over 35 exhibitions, released a documentary ‘The Man from the Moon’ narrating the history of relations between Russia and PNG, organized the visit of the first delegation of university lecturers and young diplomats from PNG to Russia to acquaint them with Russian culture. The Foundation also launched two researched expeditions to the north-western part of the country, published the book «A Journey to the Maclay Coast» and hosted a variety of other cultural events that were attended or watched by more than 10 million people. All this, undoubtedly, has the most beneficial impact on our bilateral relations. We continue to discover something new about each other’s culture and history, despite the fact that our historical bonds were forged as far back as 150 years ago during the first visit of N. Miklouho-Maclay to PNG. We cherish and preserve our friendly relations despite geographical distanes, and are guided by the humanistic principles and respect for other peoples – these are the ideals promoted by our Foundation. We are happy to witness our cultural and scientific relations enter a whole new level, where plans on economic cooperation are getting shaped and implemented. I am pleased to note that the Foundation has become a driving force of these relations and has already received requests to do business on behalf of Russian companies with their PNG partners in such industry sectors and gold mining and oil & gas recovery and processing.
Following the speech by N. Miklouho-Maclay, a financial markets analyst, Dmitry Kumanovskiy, who outlined the prospects for economic cooperation between Russia and PNG. In particular, Russia introduces customs duty concessions for unroasted (0%) and roasted and packaged coffee import (10%) as a measure of support of developing countries, which represents a great business opportunity for Papua New Guineans. The analyst then pointed out the benefits of Russian meat supplies to PNG at the costs several times lower than the wholesale prices. Dmitry also noted that Russia is willing to assist Papua New Guinea in mineral exploration and guarantee mutually beneficial partnership in oil & gas sector. The expert added that through entering the Russian market PNG will be able to access all EAEU markets.
The CEO of the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce Industry, Stacey O’Nea, then took the floor and pointed out that the POMCCI has been protecting the interests of the business community for 95 years. The APEC Summit became an impetus for building bilateral relationships. On behalf of the POMCCI, Ms O’Nea expressed gratitude to the Miklouho-Maclay Foundation and pledged their willingness to cooperate with the Foundation, which is committed to undertake energetic efforts towards shared goals. Ms O’Nea then noted that Papua New Guinea is a country of untapped potential and rich in natural resources, at true “island of gold floating in the sea of oil”. The speaker also underlined that the inauguration of Honorary Consuls in both countries will give further momentum to the fruitful economic collaboration, with positive outcomes to be seen in the short-term perspective.
After the presentations and speeches given by keynote speakers, Darren J. Young, managing director of Kumul Consolidated Holdings, took the floor. He expressed interest in doing business with Russian companies identifying priority areas of common interest: fisheries, LNG projects, mining and minerals extraction, IT technologies in medicine, tourism.
Upon the completion of the meeting, Kumul Petroleum, acting on behalf of its managing director, Wapu Sonk, presented the Miklouho-Maclay Foundation with an official request for assistance in organizing negotiations with representatives of Russian oil & gas companies. The director of the Foundation then accepted the letter from the Governor of Madang to the Russian government, which indicated his readiness to foster collaboration with Russia in the region of historical significance. Following the visit of the Foundation representatives to Papua New Guinea, agreements were signed for the establishments of “Russian corners” (centers of culture) in Port-Moresby and Magang, one of which was signed conjointly with the National Library and Archives of Port Moresby during the official signing ceremony at the end of the meeting.
The participants of the meeting agreed that such events are a unique opportunity to strike new partnerships while engaging in a frank and open discussion.
Miklouho-Maclay Foundation for the Preservation of Ethnocultural Heritage
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
“Maclay Investments” Company
Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Business Community of Papua New Guinea
Sponsor General: Bank VTB (PJSC)