Australia Assistant Minister for Trade, Investment and Tourism Mark Coulton confirmed close discussions taking place with Papua New Guinea Commerce and Industry Minister Wera Mori on the issue that has hindered exports of agricultural produce from PNG to its nearest neighbour down south.
Mr Coulton said Australia would look into some of the regulations and guidelines it has with biosecurity in relation to agricultural produce how it could work with PNG to develop standards between the two countries.
“Biosecurity guidelines in Australia are actually very important. We are an island nation and we are in the southern hemisphere, we are away from a lot of the other crippling diseases that are in other continents,” he said.
“We are a fairly disease free area, that gives us a wonderful advantage in selling our produce in some markets that others cant because we don’t have foot and mouth disease and other diseases like that.
“That advantage means that we are very particular about our trade and biosecurity and so we did have quite a discussion with Minister Mori about that.”
He said if PNG were to adopt similar biosecurity measures of Australia and New Zealand, Australia would be keen to be a part a similar level of biosecurity across the three nations.
“We certainly showed a interest in looking at that proposal should a formal one come from him and from his (Mori) government and that also, provided those high biosecurity measures can be met may open up opportunities for producers here.”
Mr Coulton highlighted issues within the current system for PNG was around traceability.
“A product regardless whether it is a melon or a frozen chicken or anything else that might come from here, there are systems that can actually trace the area or the farm where it was grown,” he said.
“That is all part of this biosecurity process I think would be certainly very worthwhile for PNG. Not only help them trade with Australia but also make them a more attractive place to source produce from other parts of the world.” Post Courier/pngfacts