PNG Hopes To End Trade War With Fiji This Month

Cooperative approach to amicably end dispute sought

By Ropate Valemei

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Sept. 6, 2016) – Papua New Guinea hopes its trade war with Fiji over tinned meat, biscuits and rice will be cleared by the end of this month.

PNG's Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru wants all issues resolved and has welcomed his Fijian counterpart, Faiyaz Koya's, response to send two officials from Biosecurity Authority of Fiji to PNG to meet with officials from the National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority (NAQIA) of PNG.

The meeting is to urgently resolve any pending issues regarding the opening of a biosecurity pathway between Fiji and PNG for Ox & Palm corned beef, snack biscuits and Trukai rice to be exported to Fiji without any more restrictions.

In a letter to Mr Koya dated September 5, 2016, Mr Maru acknowledged Mr Koya for his commitment to send Fiji's officials to PNG.

Fiji's delegation comprises of BAF executive chairman Xavier Khan and Fiji's Trade commissioner to PNG Navitalai Tuivuniwai to meet PNG's technical team to iron out any issues still pending.

"We assure you of our highest level of co-operation when your team comes to Port Moresby so we can solve the issue amicably," Mr Maru said in a statement yesterday.

This was an official response to this newspaper after questions were sent to his office in PNG.

"It is in both our interest to get a speedy resolution to the trade impasse so I request that your team come this month to get the face to face dialogue underway without any more delay."

He said Fiji's delegation to PNG should use this opportunity to discuss any trade issues that they would like to have with their team and vice versa.

Mr Maru assured the Fijian Government of PNG's continued long-term commitment to a barrier free and free trade area within the Melanesian Spearhead Group Trade Agreement.

Meanwhile, Mr Koya is optimistic the discussions would resolve the matter and open discussions on a range of other commodities of trade for both countries.

Fiji Times Online.
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