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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Aug. 11) -
Agriculture Minister Moses Maladina has announced new measures to control highly
irregular trade and export of vanilla in the country.

These measures include the increase in license fees, six months
ban on issue of new license, restriction of export to PNG national companies
only and imposition of a levy on every kilogram exported.

Maladina said the measures were necessary in light of the
irregularities in vanilla trade and export from the country, particularly along
the Vanimo border to Jayapura.

He said in a statement the government was concerned that a very
high number of vanilla export licenses were granted to exporters who in many
cases do not have farmer and crop base and many were foreign.

Maladina said he used his powers under the Spice Industry Act to
place a moratorium on issuance of new vanilla export registration and license
for a period of six months.

He said there are already far too many export licenses and that
the industry needs to reassess its trading needs to conform with existing export
requirements imposed by various authorities such as quarantine, customs,
immigration, Investment Promotion Authority and the PNG Spice Industry Board.

"This moratorium does not affect current
registered/licensed exporters as their operation must be maintained to
facilitate trade and allow farmers to continue to sell their crops.

"Furthermore, a review of the current licensing system will
be carried out to ensure that there is accountability in the exporters export
practice for vanilla and that genuine farmers/vanilla crop based trades operate
within the confines of the administrative requirements imposed by various
authorities such as Internal Revenue Commission and Customs, Quarantine, IPA,
Immigration and the PNG Spice Industry Board."

Maladina said export registrations and licenses will be issued
exclusively to PNG national and PNG incorporated companies that are legally
registered with Investment Promotion Authority, registered with the Internal
Revenue Commission, controlled and operated by PNG Nationals, have substantive
permanent establishment such as office and other assets in PNG.

"This is aimed at promoting national and community-based
entrepreneurship in the spice industry," he said.

The current registration and license fee of K300 has been
increased to K1,000 for vanilla.

He said this would allow genuine traders who deal with vanilla,
and would reduce the level of spice export applications to only genuine industry

The vanilla trade has become substantial with a value estimated
more than K70 million and that prices have further increased to over K600 per

He called for grades and standards to be enforced to ensure that
PNG exports are competitive.

Maladina said a spice export levy of K10 per kilogram would be
imposed on all vanilla exports to better manage interventions in the industry,
and to facilitate the government's role to enforce quality and a certification
system for the vanilla trade.

The PNG Spice Industry Board will collect this levy, which is
authorized under the Spice Industry Act (1989).

August 11, 2003

The National:


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