PNG accused of not playing ball on MSG trade deal

16/08/2012

Fiji Attorney-General and Minister for Trade Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has said countries like Papua New Guinea were not honouring Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) trade agreements, although Fiji was adhering to them. <!--more-->

[caption id="attachment_3699" align="alignright" width="138" caption="Fiji Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has criticised PNG for not honouring MSG trade deal. Photo: Dev Nadkarni"]<a href="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Khaiyum.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-3699" title="Khaiyum" src="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Khaiyum.jpg" alt="" width="138" height="104" /></a>[/caption]

This was creating difficulties for traders, he said speaking to traders at the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji public consultations last week.

He said the three countries of the MSG – PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu had negative lists against Fiji.

“Under the MSG trade agreement signed some time back, all the produce that comes from there - any goods and services that comes from the MSG countries into Fiji, we don't tax them, there's no tariff,” the Fiji Times reported Sayed-Khaiyum as saying.

“But if we send our stuff to them, they still have a number of items what they call negative lists where they still put tariffs on Fijian goods.

“There are a couple of anecdotal stories I've heard – for example, Papua New Guinea, they've raised quarantine issues in respect of perhaps even chicken and eggs.”

Sayed-Khaiyum told traders the reality was that Fiji wanted to get over the tariff barriers currently in place.

Fiji Industrialist Graeme Thorpe, who had attempted to export goods to PNG said, “They've put up some barriers, which are unrealistic, Biosecurity Authority of Fiji is aware of the situation but unfortunately they don't give us the same credit we give to them under the MSG trade agreement.”

However, Thorpe said there had been some dialogue with the PNG authorities.

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