Bilateral framework between France and Papua New Guinea is growing steadily, despite the great geographical distance. PNG and France have a friendly relationship. During the Second France-Oceania held in Paris in 2006, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare opened the session on regional political stability. PNG took part to the 3rd France-Oceania Summit on July 31st, 2009 with the coming of Hon. Puka Temu, deputy Prime Minister of PNG to Nouméa, the capital city of French overseas territory New Caledonia.
Our bilateral political dialogue is developing, led by the increasing exchanges between PNG and New Caledonia: Hon Sam Abal, former Minister for Foreign Affairs and former deputy Prime Minister visited New Caledonia in 2008 and 2010. PNG authorities seem to be interested in France’s integration policy for its Pacific Islands territories, particularly New Caledonia, with which PNG has a maritime border.
The France-PNG Friendship Group in the National Assembly is chaired by Mr. Dominique Le Méner, representative of the Sarthe district. In the Senate, Ms. Catherine Procaccia is Chairman Delegate for PNG in the France-Vanuatu-Pacific Islands Friendship Group. Ms. Procaccia took part to the Parliament visit to PNG in 2009.
M. Roch Wamytan, President of the Congress of New Caledonia, came to PNG in December 2011 to introduce his project of a cooperation network between deliberative assemblies of the Pacific region. During this official visit, M. Antony Lecren, member of the Government of New Caledonia in charge of economy, foreign trade and sustainable development, introduced his project of a regional program promoting “green economy” and partly financed by New Caledonia.
Economic relations between France and PNG have been limited, but are likely to grow in the next few years. The PNG LNG project gives the opportunity to French companies, which have a real technical knowledge, to work as subcontractors for the construction and exploitation phase. Generally speaking, our bilateral trade is comprised mainly of French imports (€7.08m in 2010) of food and agricultural products, and PNG imports (€2.9m in 2010) of capital goods. French utility EDF is part of an Australian consortium of companies selected to conduct the feasibility studies of the hydro power project on the Purari River in the Gulf Province. In 2009, PNG government bought a Falcon 900 EX plane from the Dassault-Falcon group. A fishing cooperation framework agreement between PNG and New Caledonia entered into force in 2002.
In 2011, the interim Economic Partnership Agreement signed in 2009 between the European Union and Papua New Guinea entered into force. It allows PNG products to access EU countries (including France) duty free and quota free.
Our cooperation focuses on scientific cooperation, mainly based on developmental research (agronomy, environmental science, natural disaster management, geology) through French research institutions based in the Pacific region.
France also promotes the French language, through French courses at the Alliance Française de Port Moresby, which organizes as well cultural events.
In the framework of the FRANZ agreement with Australia and New Zealand, France takes part to disaster management in the Pacific islands. In December 2010, French Army Forces in New Caledonia provided logistical assistance to Papua New Guinea in order to fight the cholera outbreak.
PNG is eligible for the “Fonds Pacifique” (French fund for Pacific region) funding. In 2011, two PNG projects were approved by the board for PNG: construction of a dispensary and a school in Ikundi village and support to the publishing of a book, “Motifs d’Océanie”. In 2012, the Fonds Pacific hopes to fund a biodiversity assessment project in the Madang region.