PNG and Fiji trade talks in Port Moresby Review

In a true Melanesian Way, Papua New Guinea and Fiji will be holding a round table discussion next week to iron out trade impasse between the two biggest economies in the Pacific.

PNG Made products, Ox & Palm, Snax biscuits and Trukai rice products for over a decade have been banned to be taken into Fiji because the island nation claims it is unsafe because it does not meet its biosecurity requirements.

A team of officials from Fiji’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and Biosecurity Authority will be arriving in Port Moresby to meet with officials from PNG to and the manufacturers of the products.

 Fiji’s Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Siddiq Koya is confident the ban of PNG Made products will be resolved when his delegation arrive for talks with the PNG counterparts.   

This was revealed in a letter dated 21st September, 2016 from Minister Siddiq Koya to PNG’s Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Richard Maru.

The Fijian team will work with their PNG counterparts to specifically resolve the issue of Biosecurity pathways and also discuss other trade issues.

The delegation from Fiji will include Fijian Trade Commissioner to PNG, Navitalai Tuivuniwai, chief veterinarian Dr Sian Watson, chief plant protection officer Nilesh Ami Chand and Ronal Prasad who is team leader for Trade Facilitation and Compliance.

PNG’s Technical Team will include officers from NAQIA, the Department of Trade, Commerce and Industry, Department of Agriculture & Livestock, and manufacturers of the Ox & Palm, Snax Biscuits and Trukai Rice products.

The Trade meeting will be held on Monday, 26th September, 2016, followed by visits to Hugo Canning Company Limited, Paradise Foods Limited and Trukai Rice Limited.

Meanwhile, Minister for Trade Commerce and Industry, Richard Maru is grateful for the news and welcomes the Fijian team into the country.

“I look forward to getting a fruitful outcome from this meeting and assure you of our highest level of co-operation when your team comes to Port Moresby as it is in both our interest to get a speedy resolution to this trade impasse,” Minister Maru said.

The talks followed an ultimatum given by Minister Maru for Fiji to explain the ban last month.

He told Parliament that failure by Fiji to lift the ban might led to PNG banning import of certain Fiji made products.

Charles Yapumi