PNG eyes more Fiji trade, trade war threats expected to be resolved soon
Papua New Guinea is determined to have more trade missions with Fiji, says its Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru. Mr Maru was commenting on the recent trade impasse between the two countries which is currently nearing resolution. He said this was a thing of the past and needs to be solved so that both countries can look forward to signing the Melanesian Spearhead Group trade agreement number three. “We are determined to have more of your trade missions and we would like to bring our products to the Bula country,” he said. He was speaking to the Fijian delegation currently in PNG to resolve the trade issues concerning Ox & Palm corned beef, Trukai Rice and biscuit. He said: “This dialogue over the next few days is very important to us as well. “I want to assure you every support of our government and team and we look forward to the positive conclusion and the outcome that we all desire as we want free trade in the MSG area.
“The most important thing with the MSG trade agreement number three is that it will not only cover the trading of goods. “However, the next one will cover services and labour mobility so that Papua New Guineans can be able to go work in Fiji and vice versa.” Mr Maru said the issues have never been included in the previous trade agreements, therefore they aims to conclude that by this Christmas so that they can sign off before the elections. He said the trade agreement has been negotiated for the past four years.
“So if the issue of trade impasse concludes between Fiji and PNG the four countries represented under MSG can be able to finalise bigger agreement which will have a big impact for all four countries,” he said.
Mr Maru said he is expecting full co-operation from both teams to solve these issues and hopes the Fiji team can be able to tell PNG what is wrong with its products.
“I will do whatever it takes on my part to pull in all the information you require from the companies concerned so you can complete the task that has been given to you,” he said. “It is our expectation and our hope that this so called impasse will be a thing of the past and we can move on. “The PNG government is very keen to complete the MSG 3 as we don’t want this small impasse to be a blockade or hindrance to a greater step we need to take as the sub regional trading block.”