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Biosecurity Boss Warns of Unfair Fees

Custom brokers and freight forward companies have been told not to impose additional mark-up on biosecurity fees and charges on exporters and importers. The warning came from Biosecurity Authority of
23 Dec 2015 10:30
Biosecurity Boss  Warns of Unfair Fees
Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF), executive chairman Xavier Riyaz Khan.

Custom brokers and freight forward companies have been told not to impose additional mark-up on biosecurity fees and charges on exporters and importers.

The warning came from Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) executive chairman Xavier Riyaz Khan who said the imposition of unfair fees and charges by custom brokers and freight forward companies is illegal and increases the costs of Fijian exports and imports, impacting the livelihoods of ordinary Fijians.

He indicated that BAF would be working closely ith law enforcement agencies and stakeholders in the export and import sector to combat this unethical and illegal practice.

“Such behaviour is illegal and those responsible will face full force of the law,” Mr Khan said.

He also refuted claims of double-dipping by the Customs Broker and Forwarders Council of Fiji (CBFCF) on tailgate, inspection and discharge fees.

Mr Khan pointed out that BAF provided services on request from client and the fees and charges are based on the different services provided and activities performed.

“For example tailgate inspection is the initial inspection of imported goods conducted at the port of entry for the verification of cargo and associated biosecurity risks. Following this, the decision is made on the need of full inspection,” he clairified.

“The importer will only be charged the full inspection fee if any biosecurity risk is found during tailgate inspection. Full inspection fees are not charged to importers unless determined to be necessary.”

Biosecurity officers supervise the discharge of cargo from the ships mainly to eliminate any biosecurity risks that could significantly impact the trade and livelihoods of Fijians.

The discharge fee is charged to all importers on cargo and it is directed to the shipping agents.

Mr Khan said BAF has been proactively meeting with all stakeholders to discuss biosecurity operations and strategies to remove trade barriers- as these barriers could increase the costs passed to ordinary Fijians.

He added that unscrupulous activities such as marking up gazette fees and charges should cease because these fees significantly increase consumer prices for goods and services.

In an interview last month, CBFCF general secretary Ronald Dass pointed out that their members do have outstanding issues and they are willing to sit and have dialogue with all relevant authorities to find an amicable solution, which is a win-win situation to all parties.

 



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