Papua New Guinea

Bilateral relations

PNG was Australia’s 22nd largest trading partner in 2020. Total goods and services exports to PNG totalled roughly $2.4 billion in 2020, down about US$700 million from 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted bilateral trade over the past couple of years.

Major Australian goods exports to PNG are crude petroleum, meat, civil engineering equipment and parts, specialised machinery and parts, and wheat. Goods imports from PNG largely consist of gold, crude petroleum, silver and platinum, coffee and spices.

PNG accounts for a small share of Australia’s total service exports. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated international travel restrictions disproportionately hurt services trade over the past couple of years. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, about 50,000 PNG tourists visited Australia in 2019 (about 0.5% of total visitor arrivals). PNG’s student enrolments in Australia remains small but steady at 1,200 enrolments and above. The ongoing pandemic points to another year of uncertainty for education and tourism exports in 2022. 

PNG is a small investor in Australia ($1.1 billion in 2020). On the other side, Australian investment in PNG totalled $17.6 billion in 2020, making PNG Australia’s 20th largest investment destination. Most Australian investment is in PNG’s resources sector, particularly gold mining and oil and gas; for instance, ExxonMobil Australia is the main operator of the PNG LNG project. Australian investment has also been directed towards light manufacturing, infrastructure and service delivery.