PNG Inspection Authority: PNG Products Do Not Represent A Bio-Security Risk And Fiji Is Simply Protecting Its Local Industries

PNG Trade Minister: ''Fiji’s continued disrespect for the trading relationship with PNG and their arrogance is not done in the true spirit of the MSG'

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 22, 2016) – National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority says that PNG corned beef Ox and Palm does not pose bio-security risk.

This is contrary to claims by the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji and Fiji’s Trade Minister.

This has not gone down again with the Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru said the NAQIA finding was proof that Fiji was protecting its local industry.

"This is protectionism at its worst by Fiji while aggressively taking advantage of the bigger market by flooding its products into PNG under its trade preferences under the Melanesian Spearhead Group Trade Agreement.

"If it is Fiji’s intention to protect its local industry, it will also be fair that it is implemented in accordance with the multi-lateral trading system rules as expressed by the binding World Trade Organisation agreements.

"Fiji’s continued disrespect for the trading relationship with PNG and their arrogance is not done in the true spirit of the MSG and will not be tolerated by PNG, anymore.

"We have made substantial commitments under the Melanesian Free Trade Area to open up more trade investment opportunities with the MSG countries and the Pacific Region as a whole and these arrangements benefit the people of all countries including Fiji with the view to encourage intra-trade and investment to transform economies and lives," Mr Maru said.

NAQIA in its advise to Mr Maru had stated from the outset that it apparent that Fiji does not have an established bio-security pathway or import protocol for PNG

"Given the facts, the confiscation and detention of travellers accompanied Ox&Palm corned beef for personal consumption despite lawfully declaring it on arrival in the incoming passenger cards by BAF does not appear to be based on any substantive biosecurity (animal or plant pest or disease) issue and cannot be interpreted as such.

"If there are some other SPS related matter such as hygiene, food safety and food standards which they may rightfully be concerned about then they have an obligation to transparently advise PNG under the WTO SPS Agreement rules so that it can be subjected to Customs dutiable goods controls and requirements," NAQIA said.

PNG Post-Courier
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