PNG Threatens All Out Trade War Over Fiji Ban On Its Products

Notice of retaliatory action given; Fiji has 14 days to comply

By Rosalyn Albaniel

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 12, 2016) – Papua New Guinea has warned of an all-out trade war with Fiji if the republic continues to ban entry of PNG products, including its Ox and Palm corned beef, into its market.

It has issued a 14-day ultimatum to Fiji’s Government to allow fair trade between the two countries, stating that failure would result in retaliatory actions, including the banning of Fiji chicken which it is planning to add to its exports to PNG.

The warning was issued yesterday by Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry Richard Maru in Port Moresby.

Mr Maru said he had already spoken to the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Tommy Tomscoll.

He said while he had already written to his Fijian counterpart the department would be writing yet again.

If Fiji does not respond favourably within the next seven days that he will be taking a submission to cabinet on measures it will take.

He said legal advice was now being sought on what PNG can and cannot do under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

Figures supplied showed that in 2004 the trade deficit was K5.1 million and grew to a high of K55.5 million in 2012. It dropped slightly to K53.1 million in 2013, K44.2 million in 2014 and K35.6 million last year.

PNG’s total exports for 2015 was K16.6 million while imports K52.2 million.

"I don’t want a trade war, we have never had one but how long will we wait? We have waited 10 years. Fiji must reconsider.

"Fiji’s continued disrespect for the trading relationship and the arrogance that has been demonstrated over many years leaves us with no option.

"As co-operative partners we have allowed Fiji to access our comparatively huge consumer market, investment opportunities and job market. We have allowed Fiji to have a trade surplus for a long time and their trade volumes are increasing," Mr Maru said.

He said Fiji had issued the ban on PNG’s Ox and Palm citing biodiversity risk but he said PNG had reason to believe the real motive was to protect its local industry.

"If our products are a biosecurity threat, why are other countries with much higher standards compared to Fiji, accepting our products?

"The message is simple, we will not tolerate this anymore," the minister said.

PNG Post-Courier
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Comments

Fiji just did the region a favour by winning a Gold Medal at the Olympics in Rio. Now is not the time to declare a 'trade war' against Fiji. It is totally unnecessary and shows our wantok's in PNG as being a warlike people. We in Fiji do not want a 'war' with anyone, especially our wantok's in PNG. Richard Maru should understand that no one in Fiji likes that product and will not buy it. No wholesaler/retailer in Fiji is prepared to take the risk to buy the PNG product if it will not sell at the market. So why is Maru wanting to shove their corned beef down our throats? We in Fiji know that PNG is a rich and powerful country and we respect them very much. But you cant force us to eat something we don't like! Viliame Waidelei

Yes, I agreed with Minister Maru for PNG to have total ban on Fijian products, stop Fijians from seeking emplyment in PNG and PNG to look elsewhere to export our products. Enough of begging Fiji when we should do much better in other countries, than isi isi long Fiji.

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