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VIET SEAFOOD

Biggest Canned Tuna Plant Of PNG Opened Papua New Guinea, June 10, 13

Thai Union and its two partners have opened the region’s biggest tuna processing plant in the industrial city of Lae, in PNG.
This marks the first investment by Thai Union and its two partners Century Pacific and Frabelle Fishing from the Philippines.
PNG Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, says the opening of the Majestic Seafoods plant could create close to 7,000 jobs.

Mr. O’Neill says his government wants to see all fish processed on shore to create jobs and economic benefits for Papua New Guineans.

National Fisheries Authority managing director, Sylvester Pokajam, says PNG’s tuna industry has the potential to become a big player on the global stage.

“We can be number one in the world,” Mr. Pokajam said.

“Thailand is the biggest in the world today but we have the fish.”
Better access
Martin Dihm, European Ambassador to PNG, says PNG’s other big advantage in its bid to bring tuna processing onshore is the fact it has better access to Europe than Asian countries, through its Economic Partnership Agreement.

“That allows full free duty free access of all Papua New Guinean goods to the European market,” Mr. Dihm said.

Maintaining standards

Mr. Dihm says the Majestic Seafoods plant will need to maintain environmental and other standards.

“What we have to consider, of course, is we look ... very closely at stock conservation issues and at any labor issues and social issues,” he said.

“We have a regular committee... that is foreseen by the trade agreement where we discuss all these issues together.”

Abundant workforce

Mr. Pokajam says companies won’t have trouble finding workers.

“That is why most investment is going into Lae because that is where the workforce is in abundance,” he said.

“The beauty of it is that most of the workforce are females, about 90% are female.”

However, Mr. Pokajam thinks the job targets will not be easy to achieve.

“Last year or the year before that I said 5 years but it is going to be more than 5 years,” he said.

“I would say 10 years.”
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