11 Jan 2008

Customs row stops Fiji Water exports

4:25 pm on 11 January 2008

Fiji Water is urging officials to lift a first time export ban on its product after another shipment to overseas markets was prevented from leaving the port today.

For six weeks now, Natural Waters of Viti Limited, which exports Fiji Water, has been stopped by Fiji's Revenue Customs Authority, who claims the company's transfer price is too low.

The transfer price is the price a company uses when exporting a product from one company to another.

Fiji Water corporate communications director Rob Six, says FIRCA's proposed price of 24 US dollar per case is unrealistic.

He says Fiji Water has determined its transfer price based on global consulting firm, Baker McKenzie.

"They used the guidelines that are issued from the OECD, so these are international regulations. And from that, they've determined the right price a product should be sold at when its exported. We're using international standards and we're relying on this independent consulting firm to tell us how we should price our product, and we don't understand how the government has come up with its own pricing system, but we believe they're underserved by the information they've been getting, and they've been wrong."

Rob Six says Fiji Water represents over 15 percent of the country's exports, and that's lost export revenue of almost 2 million US dollars a week.

Fiji Water first began exporting bottles to the United States in 1997 and has become a popular brand of bottled water overseas.