28 Mar 2003

Fiji garment industry faced with difficulties in 2005

4:19 pm on 28 March 2003

Fiji's largest export industry is being threatened by the impending expiry of preferential trade agreements with Australia and the United States.

More than 6-thousand people employed in the garment industry could lose their jobs when the agreements begin expiring in 2005.

The US has said it isn't interested in negotiating any bilateral agreement with a small country like Fiji.

The US government is to withdraw the current quota system to comply with World Trade Organisation rules.

Australia, which is Fiji's largest buyer, will be reducing its garment imports by 7.5 percent to 17.5 percent.

Fiji's foreign secretary, Ratu Isoa Gavidi, has told garment and footwear manufacturers that 2005 will be a very difficult year.

Garment exports last year contributed over 138-million US dollars in revenue.