14 Sep 2011

New decree on essential industries may impact Fiji trade

1:19 pm on 14 September 2011

Fiji's trade and business may be affected by a ruling of international labour lawyers who are due to discuss the country's new Essential National Industries decree in November.

The controversial law has been referred to a high level committee of experts of the International Labour Organisation.

The labour movement says the decree's in breach of fundamental labour rights like freedom of association.

The ILO's representative in Suva, David Lamotte, says a ruling against Fiji would have a major impact.

"The fair trade discussions that have often been had around Fiji...fair trade agreements usually refer to compliance with international labour standards. Trade agreements normally have a clause in respect to compliance with fundamental rights at work and principles. So they're two practical examples that will affect businesses in the private sector and the private sector is the engine of growth."

David Lamotte says companies in Fiji decreed as essential national industries last week are still trying to work out how they'll be affected by the changes.