26 Oct 2015

Fiji says NZ ban goes against WTO rules

10:11 am on 26 October 2015

The director of Fiji's Biosecurity Authority has accused New Zealand authorities of breaching international conventions by suspending imports of Fijian long beans.

Xavier Riyaz Khan says New Zealand's Ministry of Primary Industries has given no explanation for its decision to suspend imports last week after intercepting the insect Thrips palmi.

While conceding thrips palmi is a serious pest, he says his authorities thoroughly inspect all shipments for adult insects before export, but it's impossible to detect larvae or eggs.

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Photo: AFP

He says World Trade Organisation conventions make that clear.

"So with our inspections we are very confident that all thrips palmi in an adult state has been eliminated, but we are not responsible for any thrips palmi which has basically hatched from pupae to adult while transiting from Fiji to New Zealand."

Xavier Riyaz Khan says the suspension will seriously affect the country's bean farmers.

New Zealand's High Commissioner to Fiji, Mark Ramsden, has told FBC the suspension is based on technical assessments and is consistent with international trading standards and practice.