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The Manufacturers Council of PNG has thanked Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry Richard Maru for standing up for local industries.
Council chairman Murray Woo said PNG businesses had never expected that PNG would gain the most benefit from the Melanesian Spearhead Group agreements, “but we certainly did not expect to be treated as a least desirable trader”.
He was commenting on Maru’s condemnation of Fiji for not honouring the trade agreements.
Woo said PNG was a much larger market place.
“We supported the significant value that preferential access to our market gave to our smaller Melanesian cousins in the knowledge that they would have the most to gain from the deal. This being said, it was to be a reciprocal arrangement,” Woo said.
“While we didn’t expect to have trade surpluses with these small markets, we certainly never expected to be effectively and unfairly excluded from their markets.”
He said the basis of the agreement was “for each of us to treat one another better than we treat anyone else – in Melanesian solidarity”.
“Local manufacturers have cried foul for over 15 years. Minister Maru is the first leader to call our trade partners out,” he said.
“Despite committing to a zero tariff rating by 2012, Fiji, Solomons and Vanuatu have not met the deal.”
Woo said Maru had put the MSG parties on notice to play by the rules, in the spirit of solidarity.
“He gave them several years to do so, but they did nothing,” he said.
Meanwhile, illegal imports are expected to be reduced with the use of the container examination facility, according to the PNG Customs Service chief commissioner Ray Paul.
“To enable PNGCS to effectively address the increasing risk of the importation of prohibited and illicit goods within an environment of increasing volumes, an intelligence-led, risk-based approach to interventions has been adopted,” Paul said.
“The PNGCS will continue to refine its risk assessment processes to identify high risk importers, allowing legitimate importers to continue unimpeded.
“The role of the CEF is to conduct examinations of targeted sea cargo to detect prohibited and illicit goods.
“The number of containers to be inspected on a daily basis balances the need to protect PNG’s borders, while still facilitating legitimate trade.
“As such, the container x-ray business process is based on risk managed profiling and targeting.
“It delivers an increased search capability to increase the detections of illicit goods at the nation’s border.
“This capability includes the detections of illicit drugs, mis-described or undeclared tobacco, prohibited imports such as firearms, misreporting of goods and possible fraud. When the x-ray facility is fully operational, we will inspect 40 containers a week, with eight containers having further intervention from Customs.”
Paul told The National that Customs would open a similar facility in Lae and other ports which dealt with large volumes of cargo.
“Customs is also in the process of building a similar facility in Lae,” he said.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
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