China and the South Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG) have boosted their trade ties, with bilateral trade volume surpassing the 500 million U.S. dollar mark during the first 10 months of last year, the Pacnews reported on Friday.
Available statistics indicated that trade exchange could exceed 600 million U.S. dollars by the end of 2007. From January to October last year, the trade volume was recorded at 585 million dollars, up 17 percent, from the same period in 2006.
Chinese Ambassador to Papua New Guinea Wei Ruixing said he was yet to receive official figures for November and December but was confident that total volume of trade last year was sure to surpass600 million dollars, the Pacnews, the Suva-based regional news agency reported.
Noting the high level of trade exchange, Wei described this exciting development as "robust."
This was the highest since the establishment of ties in 1976 between China and PNG. Recently, there had been more frequent exchange of high level visits between the two countries. From a total volume of trade of only 140 million dollars in 2001, this tripled to 518 million dollars in 2006, increasing last year to over 600 million dollars with signs that this could further increase this year.
There will be more Chinese companies investing in PNG in a whole lot of sectors including the fisheries sector, said the Chinese ambassador.
Referring to data from the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA), Wei said between 1993 and 2006, China invested a total of 910 million dollars. In 2006 alone, investment amounted to 310 million dollars.
Last year, the Chinese government awarded 24 scholarships for PNG students, helped train more than 80 government personnel and donated medicines.
"It is very important for us developing countries to help each other as we pursue common interests for mutual benefit, " the Chinese ambassador was quoted as saying.
He said there is great potential in trade, economic cooperation, health, education, agriculture and other fields.
Some of the projects undertaken by the Chinese government include Kandep agricultural research project, Papa Lealea road construction project, Unitech computer and mathematics building project, and the recent fish processing facility at Lae.