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Delayed reduction in Rules of Origin raises hackles

09
Sep '06
Rajeshwar Singh, General Secretary of Fiji Public Service Association informed the Pacific Co-operation Foundation in New Zealand that unpredictability in the garment industry has robbed at least 10,000 people of their jobs.

He urged that if the rules of origin were changed in the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement (SPARTECA), 5,000 more people could easily be employed in the industry.

Fiji has always demanded the review of SPARTECA and asked for the support from big players like Australia and New Zealand.

Fiji has demanded that it should be provided with the same facility as the least developed countries which are allowed to use 25 percent of local content and not 50 percent in its export as described in SPARTECA.

Following the visit of Fijian Prime Minister to Australia, it has agreed to reduce the requirement to 25 percent from 2008 onwards but the timing of the reduction seems too little to late.

The decision has been welcome by and large but with skepticism that it should have been implemented urgently. People are apprehensive that while the decision shows positive attitude by the Kangaroos it has been twisted with the delay in its implementation.


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