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Five questions for: Arthur Lenoir, Leader of the French Trade Delegation to PNG

The entry of the global French-based energy giant, Total SA, has prompted the first French-only trade delegation to Papua New Guinea, which will visit Port Moresby and Lae next week. Delegation Leader, Arthur Lenoir, explains the rationale for the trip to Business Advantage PNG.

Business Advantage PNG (BAPNG): How many people are part of your delegation to PNG?

Arthur Lenoir (AL): The French Delegation to PNG consists of 12 different companies, 20 people in total, and includes the organisation staff from Business France AU & NZ, the French Ambassador of France to PNG and the Trade & Investments Officer based in Port Moresby.

BAPNG: What has prompted this visit?

AL: This Business France Trade Mission in 2015 is in fact the first French-only delegation to visit PNG and has largely been motivated by the growing interest of French companies looking to expand their organisations into the Pacific and specifically, PNG.

Many of these companies already have established subsidiaries in the South-East Asian region. French companies are renowned world-wide for their excellent expertise. As many key sectors and markets, currently experiencing great growth, reach new levels of demand, French companies are confident in their ability to meet needs of the future of PNG.

As of August 1, 2015, [French super major] Total has become the operator of the Petroleum Retention License 15 (PRL 15) in the Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea. Total brings to Elk-Antelope, global LNG experience and resources to develop the much anticipated lowest cost new-build LNG project in the world.

BAPNG: What message do you want to send to PNG business people?

AL: Come and meet with our delegation next week to talk business.
We have organised a number of events to meet with the local business community during the week, including Wednesday, 4 November, in the morning with the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce (POMCCI) as well as Thursday, 5 November, in Lae with Lae’s Chamber (LCCI).

Both events will be great opportunities to learn more about each delegate and sit down with them for one-on-one meetings during the networking sessions. Interested companies should contact either chamber to join the events or myself if they require an introduction with any of our delegates and wish to meet at another time.

BAPNG: Are you promoting any particular French industries?

AL: Our delegation includes a diverse range of highly specialised French companies, from small and medium businesses to large international groups, servicing a wide range of industrial sectors including oil & gas, mining, infrastructure, defence, aerospace, power, environment and more.

BAPNG: How open is France to imports from PNG? Which industries/products do you think have potential to be promoted in France?

AL: France generally falls within the European Union market and as such most trade issues such as export issues that affect PNG and EU generally would affect France as well. Some of these trade issues are covered under the relevant sections of existing African-Caribbean-Pacific/EU accords and agreements. Also, any trade relations with EU and member states may also come under the umbrella of specific accords/agreements between the Pacific Islands Forum countries (PIF) and EU.

Some of the products that are being exported from PNG into France (and other EU countries) are predominantly agricultural produce: fish and marine products, sugar, cocoa and copra, tea, and coffee.

During their meeting in Paris in June this year, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Laurent Fabius, evoked the bilateral relation between France and Papua New Guinea and decided to strengthen our cooperation in Oceania.

Mr O’Neill stressed that France is a strong market for Papua New Guinea’s exports, and it is also a gateway for PNG’s products to the broader European Union.