16 Jul 2018

Tonga voices concerns over Pacific trade

6:04 pm on 16 July 2018

Tonga has asked Pacific officials who met in Samoa last week to reduce import tariffs and ease bio-security processes.

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Photo: 123RF

During the meeting of Pacific trade officials in Apia, Tonga also asked Australia to reconsider its restrictions on importing kava.

Tongan officials also raised bio-security issues, including African snails, fruit flies, mould and fumigation requirements, which they said caused lengthy delays in the clearing of containers at Australian, Fijian, Samoan and New Zealand ports.

The delays often caused Tongan produce to be damaged before it reached market, they said.

Kaniva Pacific reported the chief executive of the Ministry of Labour and Commerce, Edgar Cocker, saying high charges on freight exacerbated the problems Tongan exporters faced.

Mr Cocker said Tonga was also pushing to have the regional office for the PACER Plus trade deal established in Tonga.

Samoa and Vanuatu also want to host it.