3 Aug 2005

Fiji biscuit manufacturer still seeking access to Vanuatu market

10:25 am on 3 August 2005

Fiji's leading biscuit manufacturer has accused Vanuatu of fabricating its alleged lifting of a ban on Fiji made biscuits.

The chairman of Flour Mills of Fiji, Hari Punja, says while the Vanuatu government has said it has lifted the ban, it has introduced restrictions which make it impossible to export to Vanuatu.

Mr Punja says the Vanuatu government has licenced each importer to import only two tonnes of biscuits which is the equivalent of about 200 cartons and has imposed an additional 50-per cent import duty.

He says a standard container contains 1,200 cartons and importers normally order by the containerful.

Mr Punja says exporting small consignments of biscuits would be impossible because the cost would be too high.

Mr Punja has written to the Fiji government to take the matter up with Vanuatu because it is still in breach of the Melanesian Spearhead Group's free trade agreement.