FIJI AWAITS RULING ON TRADE CONDITIONS

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SUVA, Fiji (February 11, 1998 - Radio Australia)---The Fiji Government is still waiting to hear whether Australia will relax the rules of the South Pacific Area Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (SPARTECA).

A delegation of Fiji Government ministers went to Canberra last month to request a relaxation of the rules, to help Fiji cope with the impact of its decision to devalue the Fiji dollar by 20 percent.

Foreign Minister Berenado Vunibobo says a response is expected in the next few weeks.

Finance Minister Jim Ah Koy says Fiji specifically asked for a ten per cent reduction of the rule of origin provision in the SPARTECA agreement.

Goods made in Fiji currently get duty free access to Australia if they contain at least 50 per cent locally-made materials.

Fiji wants that reduced to 40 percent.

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