Barker cautions on protective measures


INSTITUTE of National Affairs director Paul Barker says protective measures like the imposition of import tariffs on domestically produced goods may push up the costs to farmers for manufactured products.
Commenting on the State’s support for agriculture in the 2018 budget, Barker told The National that this could also result in the imposition of counter-measures/penalties by importers of PNG agricultural exports (especially where contravening international obligations such as the European Union Economic Partnership Agreement or the World Trade Organisation).
“The enabling environment entails better and more reliable transport access, power, telecommunications, financial inclusion and access, improved land management and security, foreign exchange, etc,” Barker said.
“All of these requires sound and more consistent economic management, as well as improved funding, particularly for transport maintenance and restoration rather than new infrastructure.
“Public-private partnerships for some infrastructure, including power and water provision (including for irrigation), but also market other value chain facilities, as well as phasing out investor-unfriendly policies and laws, related to granting trading monopolies on agricultural products or inputs, undue export licensing restrictions, land tenure uncertainty for legitimate businesses, etc.
“The infrastructure tax credit system will remain in place, at least in terms of provision of necessary transport and other critical infrastructure needed by smallholders and estate producers.”