PNG is Australia’s 21st largest trading partner. Total goods and services exports to PNG totalled $2.7 billion in 2018, the highest level since 2014. This recovery in PNG demand for Australian exports reflects in large part improvement in PNG’s economy and foreign exchange availability. Crude petroleum, civil engineering equipment and meat are Australia’s major export items. Imports from PNG hit $4 billion in 2018, oscillating between $3.5 to $4 billion per annum for much of the past decade. Imports largely consist of gold and crude petroleum.
Australia exported $518 million of services to PNG in 2018, mostly business services and tourism. PNG accounts for a relatively small 0.6% of Australia’s total service exports. Less than 50,000 PNG tourists visited Australia in 2018 (about 0.5% of total visitor arrivals) and spent $217 million on travel services, equivalent to 0.4% of all travel services spending. PNG’s student enrolments in Australia are small but growing.
PNG constitutes a small share of Australian investment abroad (0.7% of the total in 2018). Australian investment stocks in PNG reached nearly $17 billion in 2018, almost five times larger than in 2008. Most Australian investment is in PNG’s resources sector; for instance, Exxon Mobil Australia is the main operator of the PNG LNG project.