20 Mar 2017

Fiji trade minister baffled by PNG outburst

4:45 pm on 20 March 2017

Fiji's trade minister Faiyaz Koya says he has no idea why his PNG counterpart Richard Maru has called for a complete ban on trade with Fiji.

Fiji's Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Koya.

Fiji's Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Koya. Photo: Fiji government

Mr Maru last week called on the PNG National Executive Council to stop all imports from Fiji.

According to the Post Courier he said PNG was putting its foot down because Fiji has failed to justify its continued refusal to allow PNG goods into its markets.

However the Fiji Sun reported Faiyaz Koya as having said Fiji would not circumvent or bend its biosecurity laws.

Mr Koya said Fiji and Papua New Guinea were part of the Melanesian Spearhead Group agreement which had a facilitation aspect with respect to biosecurity.

He said this was where the matter should be addressed.

PNG Trade Minister, Richard Maru.

PNG Trade Minister, Richard Maru. Photo: Fiji Government

In calling for sanctions against Fiji, PNG's Richard Maru said that while Fiji had agreed to accept PNG's bully beef-Ox-Palm, Trukai Rice and biscuits, this was only for household quantities and not commercial volumes, which PNG was pushing for.

However Faiyaz Koya said as far as he knew PNG products were not being imported in commercial volumes to Fiji.

He said when someone decided to import such quantities Fiji would facilitate.