Business | SUNBIZ

Koya: No Bans On PNG Imports

Invites PNG’s Trade Minister Maru to visit Fiji next month to discuss and resolve the pending issues The Fijian Government has emphasised there are no bans placed on imports of
17 Aug 2016 08:54
Koya: No Bans On PNG Imports
Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, during his press conference Photo: KATHRIN KRISHNA

Invites PNG’s Trade Minister Maru to visit Fiji next month to discuss and resolve the pending issues

The Fijian Government has emphasised there are no bans placed on imports of food items from Papua New Guinea.

Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, yesterday held a press conference where he clarified Fiji has placed no unnecessary restrictions on PNG imports.

His comments follow threats by the PNG Government to disallow entry of Fijian poultry products into PNG if we fail to respond favourably to their request to allow the so-called “banned” products into Fiji.

But Mr Koya said the matter would have been resolved if the PNG National Agricultural and Quarantine Inspection Authority would have liaised with the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji.

“Imports from PNG, like any other country, will be permitted into Fiji, provided it satisfied our biosecurity requirements,” he said.

PNG’s Trade Minister, Richard Maru, had earlier raised concerns over Fiji’s refusal to allow imports of Ox & Palm, Trukai Rice and other Papua New Guinea products from entering Fiji.

But Mr Koya said there has never been an interception of Trukai Rice or Numbawan biscuits.

“Therefore, it is surprising to note these products are claimed to be banned by Fiji.”

Mr Koya further highlighted it was initially established that Ox & Palm manufacturing facility did not meet sanitary standards.

“Following that analysis, there was no further feedback from PNG National Agricultural and Quarantine Inspection Authority on whether the facility had improved its standards,” he said.

“During a meeting in 2014, BAF was informed by PNG National Agricultural and Quarantine Inspection Authority that manufacturers of Ox & Palm were no longer interested in exporting to Fiji.

“Since then, no progress was made on the IRA from the PNG end despite numerous attempts from Fiji.

“In order to resolve this matter, the Fijian Government through BAF, has initiated the process of Import Risk Analysis.

“However, this process will be futile if PNG National Agricultural and Quarantine Inspection Authority is not willing to cooperate with our competent authority, BAF.”

 

Improve quality of exports

Mr Koya said noted it is the responsibility of each country to protect the health and safety of human, animal and plant life.

He said it is also imperative that this is undertaken under proper and established framework, such as the Melanesian Spearhead Group Trade Agreement with ample opportunity for dialogue and exchange of necessary information.

Mr Koya said in this respect, the Fijian Government, through BAF, revived discussions with PNG National Agricultural and Quarantine Inspection Authority in November 2014.

“This was done to facilitate new and improved biosecurity pathways for products from both countries,” he said.

“Following that meeting, BAF expedited processes to allow for imports of lettuce, tomatoes and broccoli from PNG.

“These products are still being imported by Fiji amongst others such as fisheries products, coffee, tea, spices, beers and alcoholic beverages.”

Mr Koya stressed Fiji encourages competition in various areas and strongly believes that healthy competition will also improve the standards of Fijian manufacturers also.

 

Response to PNG

Mr Koya said in the true Melanesia spirit of cooperation and consultation, he has written to Mr Maru inviting him to Fiji next month to discuss the matter.

Mr Koya also hopes clear directives will be given to biosecurity officials of both countries to work in collaboration.

He said this will enable both countries to address the issues at the political level and provide high-level commitment.

Mr Koya said they can then also send out clear directive to the officials to work with each other and immediately resolve the pending issues.

“This will ensure that trade pathways for priority agricultural products between the two countries are established expediently. We look forward to PNG’s cooperation in this regard.”

Feedback:  rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

 



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