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Be wary of transnational crime PNG PM O'Neill tell world leaders

The country is working to protect itself through legislation from transnational crime and foreign businesses bent on corruption and exploitation, says Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

He told the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London that the sovereignty of all Commonwealth nations was being threatened by transnational crime.

He said the growth opportunities of emerging economies were attracting many international businesses.

“Most of these economies come to our countries to make a legitimate profit, and in the process stimulate economic growth and create jobs,” he said.

“(But) there are also foreign companies that come to exploit, to take advantage of evolving and sometimes weak financial regulator regimes, and immigration and labour laws.

“It’s important that our governments commit to addressing transnational crime and provide a safe and secure environment for all who live in the Commonwealth.”

He said the country had enacted several legislations to deal with the Proceeds of Crimes, to prosecute the corrupt and those who corrupt them.

“We have new legislation to deal with cyber crimes. We have laws to prevent forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking,” he said.

“But given the transcending nature of all of these crimes, we need to support each other to make sure there is better enforcement of these laws through multilateral cooperation.

“PNG seeks greater co-operation and support through the Commonwealth, and other global forums, to enhance international cooperation as the best means to combat transnational crime,” he said.

Meanwhile, O’Neill says the Commonwealth has a proud history of taking affirmative action to protect democratic principles.

O’Neill commended during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London last week the efforts to strengthen institutions which were essential for economic growth and development.

He said it “underpins a clear commitment to the values of human rights, gender equality, good governance, democracy and the rule of law”.

“We have seen this commitment in the past year as Commonwealth Observers were on the ground in our country for (2017) national election,” he said.

“They certainly played an important role in ensuring the elections were free from hindrance so democracy could prevail.

“Papua New Guinea is committed to these ideals.”

O’Neill said trade and investment were critical to economic growth in any country to improve income generation and employment.

“However, the global economy today is threatened by the prevalence of protectionist trade measures, a surge in anti-trade rhetoric, declining investment and rising inequality,” he said.

“The challenge for the Commonwealth is to rise against these trends by boosting trade and investment among our member countries. We are a diverse group of countries including developed, developing and the least developed.

“We also have many of the largest economies in the world, and several regional trade groupings including the World Trade Organisation.”

O’Neill said the membership provided the Commonwealth with the opportunity to demonstrate leadership – to expand trade and investment and create a fairer and more equitable global economy.
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