14 Apr 2004

New deals on quarantine and customs duties should boost Pacific economies

8:34 am on 14 April 2004

The economies of Pacific Island nations should get a boost this year when an agreement on quarantine and customs duties is signed.

Trade Ministers from the region met last week in Papua New Guinea and directed the Pacific Islands forum secretariat and the trade experts advisory group to undertake detailed work on barriers to trade.

The deputy secretary general of the Pacific Islands Secretariat, Iosefa Maiava, says these include helping pacific agricultural exporters comply with the strict health and quarantine requirements of other countries.

"If you have free entry of your products into New Zealand, and yet you have problems with pests and diseases associated with your product, then obviously you cannot make use of market access. So it's very important, in trade facilitation is considered to be more helpful, if those challenges were addressed, than bringing down the tariffs."

Iosefa Maiava says it's hoped a memorandum of understanding on quarantine requirements will be signed this year.