4 May 2011

Tonga readies for copra exports to Fiji

1:39 pm on 4 May 2011

The Tongan government expects to start exporting copra to Fiji for the first time by August.

It is finalising a trade agreement with the Fiji interim government.

Tonga's deputy prime minister, Samiu Vaipulu, who's leading the negotiations, says it's a forerunner to deals with Samoa and later the regional arrangement, the Pacific Islands Countries Trade Agreement, or PICTA.

He says they have an arrangement with major Fiji firm, Punja and Sons, to buy the copra and revitalise the local industry.

"Copra has been one of the main exports from Tonga in [previous] years, however lately we didn't go through that much, so the arrangement I have done now with Punja's in Fiji is that there won't be anymore bought or anything here, they'll buy direct from the farmers so that the price will be good."