EXPORT REQUIREMENTS FOR HANDICRAFTS AND ARTIFACTS
Tourism is a key part of Fiji’s economy and the industry continues to grow. Every year hundreds of thousands of visitors come to Fiji with strong projections for future growth. In light of the aforementioned, in this week’s article, we look at requirements of some of the overseas countries when carrying plant and animal products out of Fiji. This guide is to help tourists and handicraft vendors become aware of the biosecurity requirements relating to handicrafts as well as food products that are traded from Fiji.
New Zealand and Australia requirements:
All woven handicrafts including mats, masi/tapa, magimagi and fans must be inspected by a Biosecurity Officer (BSO) and such items have to be fumigated by a reputable fumigation company under the supervision of the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF).
After fumigation, BAF will issue a phytosanitary certificate and attach a Biosecurity seal certifying that the woven products have been inspected after undergoing the required biosecurity treatment.
For all wooden handicrafts, a Forestry Inspector’s certificate must be obtained from the Ministry of Fisheries and Forests first. The Forestry Inspector’s certificate is surrendered to BAF to act on their recommendations. This may include issuing a phytosanitary certificate directly for the wooden handicrafts or conducting treatment before a phytosanitary certificate is issued.
Requirements for USA, Japan, Pacific Island Countries, China, Korea, United Kingdom, France, Ireland and other Asian and European countries:
All woven handicrafts including mats, masi/ tapa, magimagi and fans must be wiped clean, sun dried, placed in a large plastic bag and sealed with a small opening to allow it to be sprayed properly with an insecticidal aerosol spray such as Mortein to kill any hitch hiking insect pest. This can be brought in for inspection by a BSO at your nearest Biosecurity Station a day before departure or taken for inspection at the Biosecurity Service Desk located in the departure hall of Nadi International Airport.
A phytosanitary certificate is not mandatory. However, travellers may still opt to have the phytosanitary certificate issued. Please note this friendly reminder: since the phytosanitary certificate is not a requirement from the receiving country, the items may still be destroyed if an interception (discovery of hitch-hiking insects) or non-compliance to the receiving country’s regulations takes place.
Weed seeds could also get attached to the cotton on the edges of the mats (woollen fringes) while being sun dried and must be physically removed by the owners. For all wooden handicrafts, the requirements are the same as Australia and New Zealand.
Important note on fumigation: it takes a minimum of 24 hours for the fumigation treatment to be applied to any wooden or woven handicraft. The owner must carry out all necessary arrangements for the fumigation treatment by a reputable private fumigation company (the treatment is supervised by BAF). There are fees and charges applicable for the supervision of fumigation treatment and this must be paid before a phytosanitary certificate is issued.
Please note that if visitors/travellers bypass or avoid BAF inspections and procedures and their handicrafts get held up at overseas border clearance, BAF will not bear any responsibility for this. Also note that while fumigation is not mandatory, it provides an assurance that hitch hiking insect pests of concern have been treated for and the respective handicrafts will not be held up at overseas border provided they are kept secure and do not attract pests after fumigation has taken place.
Coconut Brooms with Handle:
Coconut brooms with wooden handle can be taken to all countries without intervention from BAF, apart from New Zealand and Australia, if the handles are varnished or painted, do not show any signs of insect infestations and the mid-ribs (broom sticks) are cleaned properly and free of coconut leaf fragments.
Please note all coconut brooms with or without wooden handles are subject to inspection by quarantine inspectors once you arrive at your destination – any pest/disease interception will result in the item being confiscated and destroyed.
Coconut Products and Herbal Medicine:
Products made from coconut such as virgin coconut oil, pure coconut oil, soap and lotion or herbal medicine and Pure Fiji products do not need permit or documentation from BAF. For any woven or wooden handicrafts that come with the above mentioned products, care must be taken to ensure that no insects, spiders or animal droppings are attached to these handicrafts.
Marine products like sea-shell necklace, jewelleries and ornamentals do not require permit or documentation from BAF.
Tabua (Whale Tooth), Giant Clam Shell, Corals and Conch Shells:
Tabua, Giant Clam Shells, Corals and Conch Shells do not need permit or documentation from BAF. However, for Tabua a permit needs to be obtained from the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs. For Giant Clam Shells, Conch Shells and Corals, necessary CITES permit needs to be obtained from the Ministry of Environment.
CITES: the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (also known as the Washington Convention)
Feathers, seeds, animal skin:
Handicrafts and products made from or containing feathers needs to be fumigated, packed securely and must be kept free of any insects or dust. Travellers need to consult the Department of Environment to ascertain the type of avian species’ feather used and whether the item requires a CITES permit.
Seeds should be drilled and threaded and have no remnants of the seed in the pod. Products made from non-viable seeds do not need permit or documentation from BAF.
Animal skins are predominantly used for musical instruments and trophies. Products made from animal skin should be free of animal blood, flesh and hair. Consequently, if they are found to contain any of these, the items will need to undergo fumigation or they may be seized for confiscation or reshipment (all at the importers expense). It is advisable that the animal skins are well cured, commercially processed and pre-treated with formalin; have the treatment certificates attached. CITES list may also need to be consulted for certification purposes.