Rice import quota illegal says Trade Minister

The proposal by the National Government to give 80 percent rice import quota to an investor to plant rice in Papua New Guinea will break international trade laws.

That is the statement from Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru this week in Parliament when responding to a supplementary question from Kandrian - Gloucester MP Joseph Lelang.

“Under the World Trade Organisation, countries are allowed to impose protectionism leases particularly when it comes with issuing national strategy in agriculture development, particularly in relations to foods security issues,” Lelang asked.

“I do not really understand what the legal issues here; I think Trukai Rice is not a national owed company and is not subject to the rules and regulations of Papua New Guinea can the minister clarify this issue?

Minister Maru said: “If we are going to use the quote system we have to plant and grow rice first, you cannot give a quote system to someone who hasn’t planted one rice garden in the country.”

Meanwhile, in an earlier respond to questions raised by Rabaul MP Allan Marat, the minister said the advice he received from WTO in-country and legal advice from the State Solicitor’s Office states that such a policy will be in serious breach of our obligation as a member of the World Trade Organization.


Charles Yapumi