The suspension of long bean imports by the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries (NZMPIs) is unwarranted and is not in line with international trading standards.
In a breach of the International Standards on Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM), NZMPI failed to notify BAF of the intercept of live insect pest – Thrips palmi – at the time of discovery in export consignments from Fiji in August, September and October.
NZMPI also failed to send preliminary notification of the interceptions as required under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) International Plant Protection Convention Standards (IPPC).
BAF conducts 100 per cent inspections on all export commodities and eliminates all live adult Thrips palmi – which are visible to the naked eye or through hand lens.
The Thrips Palmi insect pest cannot be identified in the egg, larvae or pupa stage. BAF cannot be held responsible for eggs or larvae that hatch and grow into adults during the shipment of consignments.
Numerous pests have been intercepted at the Fijian border on imports from New Zealand, and BAF has never taken action as drastic as pathway suspension. BAF has treated these incidents according to international standards and in compliance with existing international conventions. This is in keeping with Fiji’s obligation as a member of WTO and its commitment to equal treatment and fair trade.
This unjustified suspension by New Zealand will have a significant impact on exporters, farmers and trade between Fiji and New Zealand. The total quantity of long bean exported from Fiji to New Zealand from 2013 to October 2015 is 137,403.80 kg
In order to resolve this issue, BAF has requested that NZMPI submit further information regarding the interception, including the pest identification report, preserved samples and other related information for BAF to conduct its internal investigation.
BAF has also agreed to conduct an audit on the long bean export pathway, proposing that the audit be conducted by a NZMPI Chief Technical Officer and BAF Chief Plant Protection Officer, Entomologists and Plant Pathologists.
Fiji has never had such an experience with other trading partners. The decision to suspend long bean imports by NZMPI is not supported by international trade practises and should be reconsidered.
BAF advises all stakeholders on the current situation and way forward through biosecurity advice, which can be accessed via the BAF official Website www.baf.com.fj.