Papua New Guinea is open to trade, which represented 60% of GDP in 2021 (UNCTAD, 2022). The country is in the process of liberalising its trade and investment system. It exports petroleum gas (38.1% of total exports in 2021), Gold and other precious metals (15.6%), copper ores (7.4%) and nickel mattes with 6% (OEC, 2023). Main imports are led by refined petroleum (9.92%), rice (2.9% ), delivery truck (2.47%), excavation machinery (2.31%) and motor vehicles and parts (2%).
Japan and China are the two main trade partners of the country (24.7% of total exports in 2021 respectively), followed by Australia (15,5%) and Taiwan with 6,36% (OEC, 2023). The main suppliers are Australia (26.6%), China (24.7%), Singapore (12.7%) and Malaysia with 8% (OEC, 2023). The country received MFN (most favoured nation) status from WTO members and benefits from preferred rights with the European Union after signing an Interim Economic Partnership Agreement in July 2009. Thus, imports from Papua New Guinea have duty-free access into the EU market.
According to 2022 WTO data, Papua New Guinea exported goods for a total value of USD 10.43 billion in 2021, while imports increased to USD 3.02 billion, achieving a trade surplus of USD 6.57 billion. The policy goal is to maximise trade and investment by increasing exports, to reduce imports. The government is aiming to phase out the export of unprocessed round logs in the coming years and to expand domestic processing of logs to get more revenue, according to the Ministry for Forestry. For the past two decades, Papua New Guinea has been following a policy of tariff reduction, and on three quarters of imports, where there is no domestic production, no tariffs apply. The average applied tariff rate is 4.6%, but high tariff rates are applied to certain food and plastic products (unprocessed products are subject to higher taxes) to protect domestic producers. Inefficient state institutions and high vulnerability to international markets are key obstacles towards improved trade.
|Foreign Trade Indicators||2017||2018||2019||2020||2021|
|Imports of Goods (million USD)||3,059||3,519||3,934||2,642||3,024|
|Exports of Goods (million USD)||9,952||10,524||11,399||9,229||10,433|
|Imports of Services (million USD)||1,510||1,617||1,630||1,320||939|
|Exports of Services (million USD)||254||356||319||178||107|
|Trade Balance (million USD)||6,892||6,995||n/a||n/a||n/a|
Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.
To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows
|0.4 bn USD of services exported in 2018|
|Business travelBusiness travel||0.67%|
|Personal travelPersonal travel||0.22%|
|1.6 bn USD of services imported in 2018|
|Personal travelPersonal travel||5.48%|
|Business travelBusiness travel||1.46%|
Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data
Member of Commonwealth of Nations
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Latest Update: September 2023