FIJI'S PACIFIC FISHING COMPANY READY FOR PNG EXPORTS

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (November 20, 2001 - Fiji's Daily Post/PINA Nius Online)---Fiji's Pacific Fishing Company (PAFCO) is again exporting canned tuna to the Papua New Guinea market.

General Manager Mitieli Baleivanualala said a visit to the cannery by Papua New Guinea's chief veterinary officer is a positive development in trade between the company and PNG.

"He was here to inspect our facilities and he commented in his report that he didn't see any problems," Mr. Baleivanualala said.

The company participated in a recent trade mission to Papua New Guinea headed by Fiji Islands Trade and Investment Bureau chief executive Jesoni Vitusagavulu. Seven Fiji companies were represented.

Mr. Baleivanualala said that as a result of the mission, confirmed orders were made.

According to PAFCO's sales and distribution manager, Isoa Vuki, the trade mission provided an opportunity for the company to better understand the PNG market.

Mr. Vuki, who represented PAFCO, said the company made contact with five Papua New Guinea companies.

According to Mr. Vuki, the company will be looking at around a half million dollars worth of exports per month, chiefly canned tuna in oil. The brands to be exported are Sunbell Tuna, Koro Sea, and Ovalau Blue Chilli.

This, he said, is equivalent to approximately 15 container loads of canned tuna a month.

"At the moment, we're starting off with five container loads and we expect it to increase to 15 eventually."

He said a shipment has already gone to one of the companies while final paperwork is still being processed with the other four.

Last year, PAFCO exported between 40,000 to 50,000 cases of canned tuna to its regional markets, which include Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, New Zealand and French Polynesia.

It also exported 100,000 cases of canned tuna to its Canadian and European markets and supplied 170,000 cases to the local market.

Mr. Baleivanualala said the company is expecting its supply to increase by six percent next year.

Mr. Vitusagavulu said Fiji's bilateral trade agreement with Papua New Guinea and the Melanesian Spearhead Group agreement give Fiji some advantages over other countries.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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