On 17 July 2019, the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (PNG) acceded to the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention). One hundred and sixty countries are now party to the New York Convention, which will enter into force for PNG on 15 October 2019.
PNG's accession to the New York Convention is significant in the context of its strong economic relationship with Australia. Australian investment in PNG is worth more than AU $16.9 billion and Australia is PNG's largest trading partner.
Queensland in particular benefits from this relationship given its close geographical proximity to PNG.1 From a dispute resolution perspective, parties to contracts formed in PNG are increasingly turning to Queensland as an attractive and stable forum in which to resolve disputes through arbitration. PNG's accession to the convention is, therefore, a significant step towards ensuring that parties from PNG who obtain a foreign arbitral award, including awards obtained through proceedings seated in Queensland, have increased prospects of enforcing their award in PNG.
Pursuant to PNG's constitution, the convention will not receive the status of municipal law until it is passed as an act of Parliament. To this end, PNG is currently working with the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law in drafting the necessary international arbitration legislation that will eventually secure the convention's domestic enforceability.
We will continue to monitor and provide updates on PNG's progression through this process.
1 Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 'Papua New Guinea country brief' HTTPS://DFAT.GOV.AU/GEO/PAPUA-NEW-GUINEA/PAGES/PAPUA-NEW-GUINEA-COUNTRY-BRIEF.ASPX accessed 23 July 2019.
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