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NZ Admits Fijian Produce Suspension Inappropriate

NZ Admits Fijian Produce Suspension Inappropriate
August 11
09:26 2015

Our Government last night said the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has acknowledged to Fijian authorities that its broad suspension of agricultural imports from Fiji is inappropriate.

They also stated the move was out of step with the Bilateral Quarantine Agreement (BQA) and international standards.

Therefore, the Ministry of Primary Industries New Zealand has asked to meet with Fijian officials to resolve the issue.

In a letter to the New Zealand MPI, the Fijian Government had objected to the suspension of trade of the four affected commodities: eggplants, breadfruit, mangoes and papaya.

In response, the New Zealand MPI has agreed that there have been no documented cases of a fruit fly outbreak caused by Fijian products.

Additionally, the Chief Technical Officer at the Ministry of Primary Industries, Stephen Butcher, has requested a meeting with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji.

The request was relayed to the Fijian Government by the New Zealand High Commission.

Attorney-General and Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, confirming this, said the meeting will be held in Fiji this week, and Fiji will make a formal request for the suspension to be lifted.

“We are pleased that the New Zealand authorities have moved quickly and want to work with us to bring this matter to an end,” he said.

“Given Fiji’s stringent adherence to international biosecurity standards for both imports and exports, we have every reason to believe this matter will be settled quickly.

“And that the suspended Fijian produce will be once again on its way to New Zealand.”


Fiji’s flexibility

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum pointed out that Fiji imports a wide variety of agricultural products from New Zealand and that those products occasionally do not meet Fiji’s import requirements.

“However, we have maintained a flexible posture to account for occasional anomalies in New Zealand’s treatment of its produce as long as those anomalies fall within a tolerable range,” he said.



The New Zealand authorities have asked the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) to undertake an audit of the Nature’s Way Cooperatives high-temperature forced-air (HTFA) facility and pathway certification to meet all requirements under the BQA.

New Zealand has raised concerns with regards to the lack of repair and maintenance of the HTFA facility.

Five consignments were accepted by the New Zealand MPI on August 5, despite the suspension coming into effect on August 2.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said BAF is auditing the Nature’s Way Cooperatives HTFA facility’s operational and technical specifications and further auditing of the pack-houses to meet the international phytosanitary requirements

This, he said, was to ensure the established Bilateral Quarantine Agreement exports pathway is sustained.

“BAF has implemented additional stringent measures that include pre and post inspection of Nature’s Way Cooperatives HTFA treatment,” he said.

“This is to ensure that all consignments out of Fiji are within the standards required by New Zealand.


No Australian restrictions

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and BAF met with the Deputy High Commissioner of Australia to ensure that Australian imports of Fijian Papaya would continue normally despite the New Zealand action.

The Australian Government has assured the Fijian government that Australia is taking no action to restrict imports from Fiji.

“The Australian authorities have reviewed the import requirements for Fijian papaya treated through the same HTFA pathway,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“They are satisfied with the additional measures implemented by BAF to ensure that all exports comply with Australian requirements, so our exports of papaya to Australia have continued unaffected.

“Furthermore, the Deputy High Commissioner has offered assistance through PHAMA programme for BAF to carry out an audit and for Nature’s Way to undertake repair and maintenance of the HTFA chamber.

“BAF and Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism are very mindful of Fiji’s international trade obligations.

“We will ensure that pathways remain open without any impediments and that Fijian exports have optimal market access. All additional measures required are in place.”.”



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