Biosecurity authorities in Vanuatu have banned a shipment of gravel brought in from China by a Chinese company contracted to repair the country's international airport runway.
The Vanuatu Daily Post reported the Director of Biosecurity Timothy Tumukon cited concerns about foot-and-mouth-disease contamination.
Mr Tumukon said the gravel had not been cleared to leave China and his department had a duty to protect Vanuatu's agriculture and animal husbandry.
The contractor China Civil Engineering and Construction Company is understood to have sourced the gravel from China because getting it from regional sources would have taken too long and not allowed it to complete its World Bank contract to upgrade Vanuatu's international runway in the agreed timeframe.
The country's runway is being upgraded after safety concerns raised last year saw several major international airlines cease their services to the country.