Improve PNG trade standards: Minister Maru

Photo: International Trade and Investment Ministry PNG

More effort and focus need to be put into improving standards and requirements for PNG products to be sold on international markets, says International Trade and Investment Minister Richard Maru.

Maru was comparing Papua New Guinea to counties such as Thailand whose standards allowed its products to access world markets.

“We have had serious problems over many years. I will be working with the (department) secretary, Commerce Department, National Trade Office to (boost) effort and focus to get standards up,” he said.

“We will also have to build relationships with sister agencies.

A lot of effort and focus have not been put on standards.

“It is something that we never really talk about.

“It is something that must be on our list of priorities if we are going to grow industries.

“We really need to build standards as a number one priority of the Government.

“If we are looking for markets, we must have standards and make sure they are up to par.”

Acting department secretary Jacinta Warakai-Manua in a discussion with Maru yesterday following a trip to Thailand highlighted its very strict requirements for products. The delegation visited food processing companies that produced canned fish, pet foods, chicken, rice and sugar mainly for export markets.

“These companies must adhere to strict Government regulations of standards and food safety, environment friendly, animal welfare and workers’ welfare,” Warakai-Manua said.

“These companies have to meet the highest international standards set by international bodies and must be certified and approved by these bodies. “International Standards Organisation (ISO), Food and Drug Administration of US, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, European Food Safety Authority, Food Product and Safety Regulation of Japan, to name a few, in order to export to the markets that strictly, require conformance to these standards.”