28 Feb 2006

Fiji should stop excuses over ban on PNG corn beef, says Port Moresby

10:23 am on 28 February 2006

The Papua New Guinea Trade and Industry Minister Paul Tiensten has urged Fiji to stop "giving excuses" on the corned beef issue.

The National newspaper reports that Mr Tiensten said this in response to Fiji's Foreign Minister Kaliopate Tavola's statement that PNG must certify that its local beef was free of madcow disease if it is to be exported to Fiji.

Mr Tiensten says beef used in PNG Ox & Palm was imported from Australia and New Zealand and was being exported to Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.

He says no one in PNG, Vanuatu or Solomon Islands is dying from mad cow disease.

Mr Tiensten says the comment by Mr Tavola is shallow and nonsense.

Mr Tiensten claimed Fiji was refusing PNG's corned beef because it fears that PNG corned beef would out-do their product.

He says PNG has a case to refer Fiji to the World Trade Organisation but that would be the last resort as it was costly and time consuming.

The minister says another option was to increase tariffs from 25% to 55% on Fiji corned beef in an attempt to force Fiji to a round-table discussion.