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MLAC reduction: good news for TCF industry
Feb '09
The reduction of MLAC under SPARTECA-TCF (S-TCF) Scheme from 23 February 2009 is good news that the Textile, Clothing & Footwear (TCF) industry can give to their clients in Australia.

The improved access will be good news for our clients especially since we have had to pass on price increases recently due to wages hike.

The TCF Council of Fiji extends its sincere thanks to Australian government for the reduction as well as the assistance provided through AusAID to help improve productivity and competitiveness. Fiji Customs Authority also played a key role in establishing proper audit systems that helped fulfill the criteria to achieve the MLAC reduction.

The TCF Council will be working closely with Australian High Commission on details of the implementation of the reduction. While the MLAC reduction will not impact directly on garment cost, it will enable Fiji factories to engage in discussions with Australian customers to introduce new product lines to their medium to long term production plans that will take advantage of the 25% LAC requirement under S-TCF Scheme.

The TCF industry is very important to poverty alleviation in Fiji as it mainly employs the “working poor” who would otherwise have very few, if not, any alternative means of earning an income. Of the 5000 people employed in the industry, 80% are women.

Employment in the TCF industry enables these people to earn an income that is used to educate themselves as well as their children. It also provides them an opportunity to learn skills and then move “up the ladder” within the industry or even to other industries. The industry provides a genuine opportunity to workers to break out of the “poverty cycle”.

According to UNDP's latest estimates, the value of Fiji's garment exports fell by almost two-thirds between 1999 and 2005, and an estimated 12,000 people lost their jobs. The impact of these job losses would not have been fully reflected in the HIES data and would have contributed significantly to the worsening of Fiji's poverty situation in 2005-06.

The TCF industry is also an important source of export revenue which Fiji is in dire need of. In 1999/2000, TCF exports were F$340 million with 18,000 employed which has reduced to F$100 million and 5000 people employed in 2006/07.

With the right support and policies, the downward trend of the TCF industry can be reversed. It is a matter of choice.

TCF Council of Fiji

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