Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru told Parliament today that there is no biosecurity risk with the exportation of Ox & Palm as claimed by Fiji.
He said failure by Fiji to lift the ban might lead to some of the Fiji products imported to the country being shelved.
He said he had written a letter which will be delivered tomorrow to the Fiji government regarding the issues.
Maru added that the National Agriculture Quarantine & Inspection Authority (NAQIA) of Papua New Guinea had advised him that as far as the Authority is concerned, Ox & Palm does not possess any bio-security risk to Fiji as claimed by Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) and its Trade Minister.
He said NAQIA had revealed that Fiji does not have in place an established biosecurity pathway (or import protocol) for PNG’s Ox & Palm and that there is no real biosecurity threat to Fiji.
Maru stressed that the advice from NAQIA has now confirmed that Fiji’s true reason for not allowing Ox & Palm into Fiji is not because of bio-security reasons but using bio-security as a cover to hide the real reason, which is the fear that the entry of Ox & Palm into Fiji has the potential to wipe off their corned beef industry “Island beef” brand which has failed miserable to penetrate the PNG market because it does not match the taste of the popular PNG Ox & Palm.
“This is protection at its worst by Fiji while aggressively taking advantage of the bigger PNG market by flooding its products to PNG under its trade preferences under the MSG Trade Agreement.”
Maru was responding Madang Governor Jim Kas during Questions without Notice today in Parliament.