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Trade Minister Richard Maru slams Fiji on denial of PNG products

PAPUA New Guinea has expressed serious concern on Fiji’s continual denial of PNG processed and manufactured products such as the famous Ox & Palm corned beef, Trukai Rice and Snacks from entering the country.

Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru in a letter addressed to his Fijian counterpart Faiyaz Koya, was very critical of the way Fiji authorities treat Papua New Guineans with their products.

“These are the products carried by the passengers entering Fiji for personal consumption.

However, it has been repeatedly brought to my attention that even though these items are declared, they are confiscated by the Fiji biosecurity officials particularly at the airport checkpoints.

“The Ox & Palm corned beef from Papua New Guinea is exported to Australia and Japan in commercial quantities.

Hence, I do not understand why Fiji continues to impose biosecurity restrictions on Papua New Guinea products and would like an explanation on this.”

Mr Maru also demanded an explanation as to why Papua New Guinea is listed on “Fiji Passenger Arrival Card” as a country posing biosecurity threat, including the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

“I understand it is Fiji’s sovereign right and decision to list MSG countries under this category as this brings into question the integrity and spirit of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

As parties to the Melanesian Spearhead Group Trade Agreement (MSGTA), I would like to see these issues resolved at your level so as not to damage our good trading relations.

As you may have been informed, negotiations on the MSGTA3 has concluded and awaiting Trade Ministers initialing. Papua New Guinea has been very supportive of Fiji and so we look forward to that being reciprocated.”

In terms of actual trade, trade relations are in favour of Fiji as Papua New Guinea imports more from Fiji than what it exports.

Internal trade statistics show that Papua New Guinea exported K4.4 million while importing K48.6 million with a trade deficit of K44.2 million in 2014.

This has remained quite constant throughout.

Mr Maru was sceptical as to what the underlying issues are in relation to biosecurity restrictions and/or other non-tariff measures that are being imposed by Fiji.

Media Release

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