Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said Cabinet approved for Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato to sign the International Cocoa Agreement (ICA) immediately on behalf of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.
"Cabinet has directed the Department of Foreign Affairs to proceed with notification of provisional application after the signing and to expedite the domestic preparation for ratification.
"The importance of signing up to this agreement is to ensure PNG has the legal basis for representation and be recognised as a member of ICCO to participate and contribute actively in the decision making process.
"PNG’s membership to the ICCO is critical to the growth and development of cocoa in the agriculture sector," the Prime Minister said. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said cocoa is a sustainable product and has the potential to provide employment opportunities to the majority of people living in rural areas.
He said by signing and ratifying the agreement, PNG will participate in the regional cocoa projects and trainings, which will ensure international food safety standards, awareness on trade and market requirements and safeguard amongst others.
"PNG will also be able to maintain and improve quality standards of its produce to meet the international quality standards and requirements," Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
Cocoa is currently the third largest export commodity contributing significantly to export earnings of PNG’s economy.