PNG Pushes To Close Trade Imbalance Gap With Fiji

Papua New Guinea is pushing hard to get rid of the trade imbalance currently and is in favour of Fiji. PNG Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Richard Maru, who
22 Jan 2016 12:07
PNG Pushes To  Close Trade Imbalance Gap With Fiji
Faiyaz Koya with PNG Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Richard Maru at Grand Pacific Hotel two weeks ago.

Papua New Guinea is pushing hard to get rid of the trade imbalance currently and is in favour of Fiji.

PNG Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Richard Maru, who was in the country two weeks ago, has raised this alarm bell upon his return to PNG.

PNG media reports have highlighted concerns where Fiji exports goods worth more than K58 million (FJ$41 million) to PNG while PNG exports only K4 million (FJ$2.8 million) to Fiji.

But figures from the Fiji Bureau of Statistics reveals that Fiji’s exports into PNG dropped drastically in 2014 in comparison to 2012 and 2013.

Fiji’s exports into PNG in 2012 was around $73 million, 2013 it went down to $63 million and in 2014, it was $17 million which was a big drop.

In terms of imports from PNG, in 2012 it was around $4.4 million, 2013 it went up to $7.2 million and 2014 finished with $7 million worth of imports.

Fiji-PNG Business Council President, Nouzab Fareed, said Fiji not importing as much from PNG was not because of quality but because of the pricing and the strength of their currency – the PNG Kina.

“Most of the items from PNG are fairly good in quality but expensive because of Kina and we have not done enough imports from there which is price competitive enough for Fijian market,” he said.

Nonetheless, Mr Fareed said the council continues to support Fijian companies who are planning to import from PNG.

“We are also trying to hook up with PNG companies who got the right price of their products for Fijian market to export to Fiji,” he said.

But he explained the common ground is very little.

Mr Fareed said there are some PNG companies who are getting information on the market in Fiji for certain products as they want to export from PNG to Fiji.

“The product is good but it is the pricing. There are a few products which are competitive and we will continue to see where we can push those areas,” he said.

Trade office
PNG’s Department of Trade, Commerce and Industry will make a submission to the PNG National Executive Council to open a trade office in Fiji to improve the trade imbalance.

Mr Maru believes effective marketing in Fiji would be the way forward to improve the imbalance.

And thus, he will be leading a Trade and Investment delegation on a roadshow here comprising of PNG business houses to market their products.

Mr Maru explained that after signing the Melanesian Spearhead Group Trade Agreement, PNG saw a significant increase in Fijian goods.

These include goods such as FIJI Water and canned foods. But, he said on the flip side, no new products from PNG have made it to the shelves in Fiji.

He stressed that whilst Fijian businesses have been aggressively supplying goods to PNG, PNG businesses were not even making use of the MSG free trade agreement.

“I was unhappy to see in our own hotel in Fiji (The Pearl) not selling SP Lager. Fiji is importing sugar from other countries when we have a MSG agreement and we could supply sugar,” he was quoted in Looppng.

Thus, Mr Maru has told the PNG media that he is keen to see PNG products such as canned food, sugar, coffee, bilums, beer and fisheries products hit the shelves here this year.

Meanwhile, Fijian Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, had highlighted during Mr Maru’s visit that it was a concern that Fiji and PNG were sourcing goods from countries further away.

He said this was when the same goods are readily available in both the countries.

“By engaging in increased bilateral exports we will create the basis for intra-regional trade to replace goods that are sourced from markets far and beyond,” he said.

“All we need to do is capitalise on areas where we have comparative advantage.”


Edited by: RACHNA LAL


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