Philippines concerned with Papua New Guinea domestic fish processing requirement

Published on
December 7, 2017

The government of the Philippines has voiced concern over Papua New Guinea’s recently announced plan to require that all fish caught in its waters be processed domestically.

Currently, only about one in five fish caught in PNG waters is processed inside the country, and PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill made formulated the new plan in order to provide jobs and increase domestic commerce and foreign exchange earnings in his country, according to Philippine Agriculture Secretary, Emmanuel F. Piñol. 

However, the move will affect tuna processing industry in the Philippines, Piñol said.

“We have a problem with Papua New Guinea right now,” Piñol told the Business Mirror. “Before, Filipinos can catch tuna in Papua New Guinea and process it in the Philippines. Now, their government wants all tuna caught in their waters to be processed in Papua New Guinea. If that pushes through, then our tuna processing industry here would be affected. The request of the stakeholders in the tuna industry is for them to be allowed to process part of their catch in the Philippines.”

The president of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill discussed the issue during the two countries’ bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Vietnam in November.

According to ABS CBN News, Duterte asked O’Neill to reconsider the policy and allow Filipino fishing companies to bring part of their catch to General Santos City in the Philippines. In exchange, Duterte offered to help Papua New Guinea expand its rice and coconut industries. 

O’Neill “promised to review the new fishing regulations and promised consultations with Filipino investors in his country,” the news site reported.

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