Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) Australia has recorded more than AUD$27 million (US$12 million) in export deals and a 17 investment deals facilitated in the region, despite the challenging pandemic environment.
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat agency’s 2021 Annual Report, highlights that in 2021, PTI Australia continued to build work with businesses in Papua New Guinea, promoting trade, tourism, and investment opportunities in the wake of COVID-19. Through its services, PTI Australia facilitated AUD$4,111,240 (US$2,903,385) in exports and worked with 187 businesses. PTI Australia’s Trade and Investment Commissioner, Caleb Jarvis, noted the ongoing impact of the pandemic on the Pacific, and the organisation’s work to continue supporting the private sector through and beyond the crisis.
“Across the Blue Pacific, many nations felt the devastating health impacts of the pandemic for the first time in 2021, demonstrating incredible resilience in their response to the crisis.
Despite an arduous environment of severe trade and investment constraints, we were able to support 975 businesses across 16 Pacific nations during this period,” said Jarvis.
“In Papua New Guinea we connected a number of PNG-based businesses to potential buyers and distributors in Australia, including a bilum exporter to an Australia-based buyer, a vanilla extract exporter to a Melbourne-based importer, and a coffee bean exporter to an Australian-based buyer.”
Jarvis acknowledged his team’s “flexibility and determination…[as they] continued to approach the year dynamically, remaining immeasurably adaptable as many of our trade, investment, tourism, and labour mobility programs shifted between physical, virtual and hybrid formats as Australia and the Blue Pacific moved in and out of various lockdowns.”
Collaborating with their global PTI network and 27 partners allowed PTI Australia to deliver $27.14 million (US$19.16 million) in exports and $14.66 million (US$10.36 million) in investments across the year.
Investing in and accelerating regional digital development and capacity building has also played a significant part in the agency’s work, said Jarvis.
Throughout the year, PTI Australia delivered 38 online workshops to help Pacific businesses participate more in the digital economy, launched their PTI Australia x Canva Digital Design ProgramME, a first in the region, and refined their e-Commerce connector series.
“Continually understanding the realities for the Pacific’s private sector has also been essential during this period, and through the PTI Network’s regular PTI Pacific Business Monitor survey series we have been able to ensure nations, agencies and partners were kept informed with data, while also utilising these same insights to inform the design of much of our own work.”
Looking ahead, Jarvis reinforced the agency’s commitment to supporting Pacific businesses and the communities that rely on them.
“Throughout 2022 and beyond, we will remain committed to working with our partners to chart a path to economic recovery, creating tangible outcomes for the businesses and people of the Blue Pacific, as we continually pursue the Pacific Islands Forum’s vision of a bright and prosperous future for all Pacific peoples.