On August 6, Vice Minister of Commerce and Deputy CITR Wang Shouwen co-chaired the first session of the China-Papua New Guinea joint economic and trade committee (JETC) via video links with Mr. Varo, Deputy Secretary of Papua New Guinea's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Ambassador Xue Bing, Chinese Ambassador to PNG, Mr. Sumale, PNG Charge d'Affaires to China, Mr. Numu, Governor of PNG's Eastern Highlands Province, and delegates from Fujian province, Guangdong province and Shenzhen municipality attended the meeting. The JETC is one of the important trade and economic outcomes of President Xi Jinping's visit to PNG in November 2018. This session is the first meeting held under a trade and economic mechanism between China and Oceanic countries since the COVID-19 outbreak began.

Vice Minister Wang said that the two sides had been vigorously implementing the outcomes of President Xi's visit to PNG and the third China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum to enrich bilateral trade and economic ties under China-PNG comprehensive strategic partnership. After the outbreak began, President Xi sent a letter in reply to the Butuka Academy, and received a letter expressing sympathy from Prime Minister Marape. All walks of life in China and PNG have had exchanges in various areas and helped each other through multiple channels, which speaks volume about the fact that the two sides pull together as one and look out for each other in their friendship. PNG is China's largest economic and trading partner in the Pacific Island region and the first country in the region to sign a Belt and Road MOU and cooperation plan with China. Sub-national trade and economic cooperation between the two sides is burgeoning. China stands ready to further step up practical cooperation with PNG in various areas, push bilateral commercial ties onto higher levels and bring more benefits to the people on both sides.

Deputy Secretary Varo said that it was significant for the two countries to hold the first session of the JETC at such an extraordinary time, which demonstrated both sides'confidence and determination in jointly addressing new challenges and deepening mutually-beneficial commercial cooperation in the long run. PNG attaches great importance to its relations and practical cooperation with China and is working with China to put the leaders'consensus into practice. The two sides efficiently facilitated the registration of PNG aquatic products exporters in China, bringing new opportunities for expanding two-way trade. PNG appreciates China's strong long-term support to its economic and social development and China's selfless, timely assistance since the outbreak began. PNG stands ready to further tap the potential for cooperation with China and upgrade bilateral commercial ties.

The two sides agreed to continue to step up international cooperation in fighting COVID-19, align the Belt and Road initiative and PNG's major strategies, accelerate the joint FTA feasibility study, deepen trade and investment cooperation, expand economic and technical cooperation, promote sub-national practical cooperation and enhance coordination and communication under regional and multilateral frameworks.

As outcomes of the meeting, the two sides witnessed the signing of the handover certificate of COVID-response supplies donated by China to PNG and the phase-four Fujian-aided Juncao and upland rice technical project, and announced the completion of the Chinese-funded PNG national submarine cable project.

Approved by:MINISTRY OF COMMERCE,PRC     Supported by:China International Electronic Commerce Center