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The production and sale of the bilum is “reserved” for locals, according to Papua New Guinea's Investment Promotion Authority (IPA).
“Irrespective of whether it is mechanised or the product modified, so long as the designs and colours are retained, it’s still reserved,” Cedrick Patrick, the IPA Foreign Certification manager, says.
“Under the IPA Act 1992, bilum-making and the sale of it is reserved, whether it is in a shop or market.
“The sale and production of it is reserved.”
He said under the Cottage Business Activities list, and according to a statement from Commerce and Industry Minister Wera, anything made out of traditional materials, hand-woven, with the designs and colours being original, “is a reserved activity”.
Patrick was responding to the recent destruction of imported factory-made bilum in Kimbe.
“If you really look at it, most of the colours and designs are similar” he said.
“They even used the national colours and flags.
“Although it is mechanised, the activity itself is reserved.”
Registrar Intellectual Property Officer Amelia Na’aru said the imported bilum were similar to the ones produced by local women.
“The look and style – that in itself is already an infringement of bilum weaving,” she said.
Na’aru said it was reserved because of the traditional knowledge of weaving which had been passed down to the current generation.
“The skill and the know-how of making bilum (must be reserved) to preserve our culture,” she said.
“Allowing someone else to come and give us an exact product (means) we wouldn’t be preserving our knowledge.
“Someone else will be doing it easily for us. It would be a disadvantage to locals who weave with their hands, said Na'aru.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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