Papua New Guinea - Country Commercial Guide
Market Overview

Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, and other issues that affect trade.

Last published date: 2022-08-11

In 2022, the U.S. Commercial Service established an office in Port Moresby to promote U.S. commercial interests and assist U.S. clients export to Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. 

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the PNG economy since the start of the pandemic in 2019.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in PNG was worth USD26.59 billion in 2021, according to official data from the World Bank. The GDP value of PNG represents less than 0.01 percent of the world economy. According to the World Bank, COVID-19 related restrictions and weaker demand caused PNG’s real GDP to contract by 3.8 per cent in 2020. PNG’s economy is forecast to rebound to grow by about 3.5 per cent in 2021–22, but the economy will still be nine percentage points smaller in 2023 compared to the World Bank’s pre-pandemic forecast.

In 2020, PNG’s total imports was USD2.64 billion. U.S. exports to PNG in 2020 totaled USD62.5 million. At the time of this report the 2021 trade statistics was not available from the Central Bank of PNG.  U.S. industry has played a prominent role in realizing PNG’s mining and energy potential. ExxonMobil’s lead involvement in the USD19 billion PNG Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) project was supported in 2009 by USD3 billion in export financing from EXIM Bank, at the time the largest single exposure in EXIM’s history.

PNG’s top import markets are Australia, China, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. PNG’s top imports products include refined petroleum, excavation machinery, crude petroleum, other edible preparations, and delivery trucks. The leading export markets for PNG include China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Australia. PNG’s leading exports products are petroleum gas, gold, copper ore, rough wood, and crude petroleum.

The key high-growth sectors with potential for U.S. exports and investment in PNG are Mining and Energy Equipment and Services, Agriculture and Fisheries Equipment and Services, Building and Construction Supplies, Renewable Energy, and Tourism Services and Equipment. On a smaller scale Processed Foods and Beverages, Water Resource Equipment/Services, and Franchising are sectors that also have potential for U.S exports and investment.

PNG has Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with Australia, China, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom.  PNG has a free trade agreement (FTA) with the countries of the Melanesian Spearhead Group: Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Fiji.