CAPTION: Participants take notes at the Regional Global Quarantine Awareness workshop in Niue. Photo: SUPPLIED.
An awareness workshop aimed at increasing knowledge of international organisations, agreements and standards, with a focus on promoting trade in Niue, was conducted from 15 to 17 May by SPC through the Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) Project.
This was part of efforts of the European Union-funded IACT project to strengthen the capacity of national departments and export enterprises of Pacific Island countries and territories to comply with international trade standards.
Officers from Niue’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) attended the Regional Global Quarantine Awareness workshop, which was held in Niue.
Commenting on the importance of the workshop, IACT Biosecurity Officer, Lesio Saurara pointed out that there is a need in the region to better understand international trade agreements and standards set out by institutions like the World Trade Organization and the three sister standard-setting bodies – the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the International Plant Protection Convention and the World Organization for Animal Health.
‘Understanding international norms will help Pacific countries to harmonise their national policies and regulations with existing international standards. This can contribute to trade expansion in a sustainable way,’ he explained.
The workshop, he said, would motivate participants to better appreciate their designated roles in frontier quarantine border operations and trade facilitation.
As one of the workshop facilitators, Saurara believes that the workshop gave the participants more confidence and brought about much needed collaboration across government departments in Niue to reduce trade restrictive barriers.
The workshop was well received by the participants. Chamberlin Pita, Customs Officer with DAFF, said that participating in the workshop made him aware of the quarantine aspects of international agreements and their importance.
For participants Natasha Tohovaka and Poi Okesene, both Senior Project Coordinators with DAFF, the workshop helped broaden their understanding of international standards involving trade, such as the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade and the International Sanitary Phytosanitary Measures.
After the workshop, Tohovaka said that DAFF would be working more closely with importers on ensuring they follow correct procedures to prohibit the entry of pests and diseases into Niue.
She also made calls for SPC to work with Niue to improve awareness of quarantine issues in the country.
As well as conducting the workshop, the team from SPC also carried out a plant pest and disease survey in Niue. This was done to gather information to support the National Plant Protection Organisation in the declaration of pest-free areas, as well as for trade facilitation of market access in providing updated pest lists.