In a press release today by Fiji’s Trade Minister, Hon. Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, announced that the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji is ready to facilitate commercial imports of PNG products.
Fiji’s Trade Minister said, “We look forward to working with PNG Minister for Trade, Hon. Maru to deepen and strengthen trade ties between both the countries”.
This comes after Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Richard Maru, made his stance clear on trade with the country, stating that PNG should cut all trade ties with Fiji.
Maru made these statements at a press conference last week, that PNG would not sign the new MSG trade agreement with member countries (MSGTA3) and would furthermore, not submit to any agreement that Fiji is a part of.
“I have submitted a proposal for the government to make tough decisions against Fiji and I expect these decisions will be made in the coming days,” he said.
Minister Maru considered it an insult to PNG, after Fiji would only allow for household quantities of PNG products to be brought into their country.
People travelling to Fiji including Papua New Guineans can only carry a small quantity of Ox and Palm corned-beef, Trukai rice or Lae biscuits in their bags and not commercial volumes.
“Now this is a huge insult to PNG. We were not interested in this risk assessment because we do not want to bring only household quantities, we want to export large volumes of our products,” Maru said.
Fiji had refused to allow commercial imports of Ox & Palm corned beef, Trukai Rice and Lae Biscuit, due to biosecurity concerns and the Fijian Government would not compromise its biosecurity laws.
However Maru argues that the real reason for Fiji’s lax approach to allowing commercial imports of PNG products is that Fiji only wishes to protect its local industry.
Maru said if countries like Australia and Singapore with higher bio-security measures can allow the entry of PNG’s tinned product, Ox & Palm, he cannot see why Fiji has an issue with it.
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