21 Mar 2006

Fiji lifts ban on PNG corn beef

10:21 am on 21 March 2006

Fiji has lifted a ban on Papua New Guinea corned beef following talks between the two countries.

The Fiji Times reports that Fiji's Foreign Minister Kaliopate Tavola met PNG's Trade Minister Paul Teinsten at a special Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting in Vanuatu last week.

Earlier this year, Mr Tavola had issued a statement saying that PNG must prove that its local beef was free of mad cow disease, if it was to be exported to Fiji.

In reply, Mr Tiensten said the real reason Fiji did not want PNG corned beef was the fear that it might out-do Fiji's beef product.

He had warned that Fiji's ban on imported PNG corned beef was a violation of the free trade

agreement between MSG members.

Mr Tavola could not be reached for a comment yesterday but his chief executive Isikeli Mataitoga confirmed that the ban on PNG corned beef had been lifted.

A legislation on the trade agreement between the two countries is still being drafted.