7 Jul 2008

New tax on Fiji's bottle water could be "death knell" for the industry

10:45 am on 7 July 2008

Fiji Water's Director of External Affairs and Development, David Roth, says the tax imposed on the industry by the interim regime could be the death knell for the industry.

All 10 companies that bottle water in Fiji have stopped selling their products in protest against a 13 US cent tax on every litre of water they sell, both locally and as exports.

David Roth says they believe it is not based on any economic reality and based on ill-advice.

He says they employ close to 400 people and the tax is a blow to their workers.

"If we are not able to do the business that we are supposed to and want to be doing, the people who really suffer are people here in Fiji - our employees, our contractors, our vendors, people who rely upon Fiji Water for their livelihoods."

Fiji Water recently removed Evian from the number one spot of most imported bottled water brand into the USA.

Fiji Water is the bulk of Fiji s exports to the USA.

The outgoing U.S. ambassador to Fiji, Larry Dinger has urged the interim administration to review its decision.

However, the interim Finance Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, said the interim Government had made a decision and the tax was already in place.