France and Papua New Guinea

Presentation

Political relations

The authorities of Papua New Guinea follow French policy on the inclusion of French overseas communities in their regional environment with interest and they wish to develop cooperation with the French territories, particularly New Caledonia, with which they share a sea border.

Visits

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development on 19 June 2015. He made a second visit to Paris to attend the 21ˢᵗ Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21). On 16 June 2016, he met with the President of the French Republic at the first France-Papua New Guinea Business Forum held in Paris with the support of MEDEF International.

France and the United Kingdom are the only EU Member States with diplomatic representations in Papua New Guinea.

Economic relations

Economic and trade relations between France and Papua New Guinea are strengthening significantly, thanks to investment in mining and gas in particular.
In 2013, Total signed agreements with Oil Search and InterOil to acquire production rights for the new Elk-Antelope natural gas fields. These reserves are estimated to cover more than 175 billion cubic metres. Its Chairman and CEO, Patrick Pouyanné, visited Port Moresby in April 2016 to reaffirm Total’s intention to construct a liquefied natural gas plant in the Gulf of Papua.

In the aviation field, PNG Air (Papua New Guinea airline, formerly called Airlines PNG) ordered seven ATR-600 Series aircraft in 2014 from the ATR economic interest grouping of which a 50% share is owned by Airbus. The first was put into operation in November 2015 and the six others will be delivered by the end of 2017. The company also obtained options for 14 additional aircraft. On 4 November 2015, PGN Air and ATR signed a long-term global maintenance agreement that is valid for 12 years.

The first France-Papua New Guinea Business Forum held in Paris in June 2016 bolstered our trade.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Our cooperation is based mainly on scientific cooperation focusing on research for development (agronomy, environmental science, natural risk management and geology), in conjunction with regional French research institutes, and on support for Francophonie.
Papua New Guinea receives financing from the Pacific Fund (French Fund for economic, social and cultural cooperation in the Pacific). In 2016, the Pacific Fund helped finance the Ambitle Island project to promote coral reef adaptation to climate change and a project on the resilience of certain environments (forest,coastal), implemented by the French Research Institute for Development (IRD).

Other cooperation

Our military cooperation is also being stepped up thanks, in particular, to the participation of the Papua New Guinea armed forces in the multinational military exercise “Southern Cross” in New Caledonia. The High Commander of the French Armed Forces in New Caledonia (FANC) has made regular visits to Papua New Guinea.

The Director-General of International and Strategic Relations at the Ministry of Defence, Philippe Errera, led the French delegation at the second session of the South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting, which was held in 2015 in Port-Moresby.

Updated: 12/06/17

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