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Fiji clothing sector faces uncertain times
03
Apr '09
Fiji's TCF industry is working hard to maintain existing export business in this tough economic climate. Customers in Australian and New Zealand are not giving firm production plans and those that have are reducing their requirements. Reasons given include uncertain market conditions, reducing inventory, and lower demand. They are also not entertaining any price increases.

Most factories in Fiji are struggling to keep a full working week with many resorting to different measures such as stopping recruitment/replacement, working 4-day week and in most severe cases, laying-off staff. It is estimated that between 150-200 additional jobs have been lost since February this year, and an estimated 2000 workers are on reduced working hours.

The general feedback from factories on outlook for next 12 months was that the future was uncertain and they were working hard to keep existing business. It is very difficult to find new business in export markets due to reduced demand and confidence.

The situation has not been helped by countries such as China and Bangladesh giving huge incentives such as export rebates, tax-free incentives to boost their TCF exports. Locally, Fiji's TCF industry's competitiveness has been hampered by increasing wages without productivity gains, poor telecommunication, and high comparative freight costs.

In addition, unfair export market access has also hindered new business development. The TCF Council of Fiji has been actively working with its members and relevant institutions including Fiji government, FTIB, RBF, and others to see what can be done to help the Industry get through these tough times. To think that the global crisis won't affect the sector is ignorant and foolish because it is already upon the industry.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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