Subject: PNG: Timor bid on trade

PNG Post-Courier

October 27, 2005 Thursday

Timor bid on trade

Peter Niesi in Madang

The world s newest country Timor Leste does not see its oil and gas interests as competing with Papua New Guinea.

And it has no intention of following up on their observer status in the Pacific Island Forum to a full member status because of its geographical location and natural trading interests.

Timor Leste Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Ramos Horta revealed this at an impromptu press conference initiated first by Pacific Island journalists.

Dr Horta told the Pacific journalists that his country had no intention to join the PIF as a full member. He said that currently 70 per cent of their imports are from Indonesia and while they have a vast Melanesian population trade-wise it was better and easier for them to interact with nearby countries of Asia.

He revealed Timor Leste is the only country in Asia region to ratify the Contonou Agreement which forms the basis for the current Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States with the European Union on market access for trade purposes and developmental assistance directly linked to good governance and respect of human rights.

He said Timor Leste wants to learn more from the Pacific and PNG, in particular on the current economic partnership agreement negotiations.

Meanwhile, Tokelau from the territories that New Zealand oversees, has been granted observer status.

An invigorated delegation leader Pio Tua said while their country only has a live-in population of 1500, they too aspired for the same development assistance in education, health and develop their fishery.

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