2 Apr 2005

Vanuatu bans Fiji biscuits again

9:09 am on 2 April 2005

Vanuatu has again banned the import of Fiji made biscuits, the second such ban in a few months.

The ban has had a major impact on the South Pacific's largest biscuit manufacturer, Flour Mills of Fiji, because at present it holds over 85 per cent of the market share in Vanuatu.

The company chairman, Hari Punja, has written to Fiji's trade minister, Kaliopate Tavola, pointing out that the ban is against a free trade agreement between the Melanesian Spearhead Group of countries.

It's also against the rules of the World Trade Organisation of which both countries are members.

Mr Punja has asked Mr Tavola to take the strongest possible action against Vanuatu.

It is understood that the ban has been imposed to protect a local manufacturer.

When Vanuatu imposed its first biscuit ban, Fiji threatened to retaliate by banning Vanuatu kava which has more than US$6 million in sales in Fiji.