Tonga asks Pacific countries to soften up on bio-security and import tarrifs

    'Oku 'i lalo 'a e fakamatala faka-Tonga ki he ongoongo' ni

    Tonga has asked Pacific officials who were meeting in Samoa this week to reduce their import tariffs and soften up on their bio-security processes.

    They asked the Australian officials to reconsider their import restrictions on kava.

    Tonga also discussed certain bio-security problems including African snails, fruit flies, mould and fumigation requirements which caused long-term delays in clearing containers at Australian, Fijian, Samoan and New Zealand ports.

    The long delays often caused Tongan produce to be damaged before they reached Pacific markets, it has been claimed.

    Ministry of Labour and Commerce CEO Edgar Cocker, who was representing Tonga at the meeting along with Trade Director Pauline Siasau, said the freight service high costs have exacerbated the situation and he has discussed it with the authorities.

    Pacific trade officials were meeting to discuss how to expand economic activities that are beneficial for the region.

    They also discussed co-ordinating policies to strengthen regional trade integration.

    Samoa has imposed 20 percent tariffs and 15 percent GTS on watermelons and produce from Tonga and Mr Cocker was expected to discuss it with them during the meeting.

    Tonga told the meeting that prices of its export products should not be less than 40 percent of the prices charged on them locally.

    Tonga also told the meeting the freight service costs on Tonga’s exportation was too high.

    Mr Cocker said the meeting was important for Tonga because it provided an opportunity for the member countries to discuss regional trade agreements including PICTA – Pacific Islands Trade Agreements, PACER PLUS, Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) AND WTO.

    “Discussing these agreements are significant for Tonga because they give us the opportunity to raise our concerns about the Pacific countries import tariffs and trade barriers and to discuss them with our Pacific counterparts,” Mr Cocker said.

    He said Tonga has also lobbied to have the PACER Plus regional office established in Tonga during the meeting. Samoa and Vanuatu were lobbying against Tonga.

    1 COMMENT

    1. Fakahā ‘e Tonga ki he kau ‘ofisiale Pasifiki ne fakataha ‘i Ha’amoa he uike’ ni fekau’aki mo ha me’a ke langa hake fefakatau’aki ‘a e Pasifiki’ ke nau ki’i fakangaloku ‘i he totongi ‘o e tute ki he koloa hu atu ki honau ngaahi fonua.

      Pea ke nau toe meesi ‘i he ngaahi sivi malu’i ‘o e fua ‘o e fonua ‘o ku hū atu’.

      Ko e totongi vaka mei Tonga’ oku fu’u mamafa pea ‘oku toe ‘asinga ai e mamafa ange ‘a e koloa ‘a Tonga ko hono hili hifo e ngaahi totongi ‘i muli ‘i ‘olunga he totongi mamafa ‘o e feleti’.

      Ko e ngaahi fakataha ko eni oku alea’i ai ‘a e ngaahi aleapau fakafetau’aki fakafeitu’u ‘oku mahu’inga ki Tonga ke vete ai ‘a e ngaahi palopalema ni hange ke fakafaingofua’i e fefakatau’aki ‘o fakasi’isi’i e ngaahi fakataputapui (restrictions, and trade protectionism) ‘oku fokotu’u mei he ngaahi fonua ‘oku fai ki ai e fefakatau’aki ‘o kau ai mo hono tute e koloa hu atu ke toe mamafa ange he taimi ‘oku tuku atu ai kihe maketi.

      Ko hono fusi ke mafao e ngaahi tu’utu’uni ki he bio-security mo e sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS), ko e ngaahi fakatatapui ki he Kava ‘oku hu atu ki he Pule’anga Australia.

      Kau ai mo hono tute peseti ‘e 20 ‘e Samoa pea tanaki atu moe GST 15% ki he meleni mo e fua e fonua mei Tonga ki Samoa.

      ‘Oku fie ma’u ke ‘oua ‘e toe si’i hifo he peseti ‘e 40% ‘a e mahu’inga fakalotofonua e koloa ‘oku fa’u fakalotofonua pea uta ki tu’apule’anga (Rules of Origin) pea moe ngaahi ‘uhinga kehekehe kau ai e lahi e Cyanide ‘i he Manioke, Mercury level ‘i he ika ‘oku uta ki Tu’apule’anga.

      ‘Oku fiema’u ke fakapapau’i ke ‘oua ‘e iai ha food safety issue ‘i he koloa ‘oku uta, hao mei he organisims te ne fakatupu ha u’esia ki he bio-diversity ‘o e fonua ‘oku uta ki ai, fiema’u ke ‘i ai ha export license ke uta ki Australia, koe palopalema ‘o e African Snails, inisekite (Insects), moe lango hukia (fruit fly) pea moe moulds kehe kehe, moe fumigation requirements ‘o maumau lahi ai e ngoue kimu’a pea a’u ki Nu’u Sila mo ‘Aositelēlia

      Ko e palopalema lahi taha ko e mamafa ‘a e freight costs mei Tonga ki Nu’u Sila mo Aositelēlia pea to e tanaki ki ai mo e ngaahi fakamole ‘oku tanaki atu ki he ngaahi fiema’u ‘oku fakaha ‘i ‘olunga, pea toe mole e taimi (too long before clearance at Port of Entry) pea iku ki he maumau e koloa mo ue’sia e kakano e fo’i me’akai, ‘oku te’eki ke a’u ki he maketi ‘i Nu’u Sila mo Australia, pe ko Samoa pe Fiji.

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