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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (July 7, 1998 - PACNEWS---The Vanuatu government has received proposals from four different foreign companies to establish a Vanuatu-based copra oil mill.

First Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Commerce, Mark Bebe, said the ministry is studying each proposal and will submit its recommendation to the proposed Foreign Investment Board once the bill for the Foreign Investment Act is passed by Parliament.

Bebe said the ministry's recommendations will be based on a cost-benefit analysis, to ensure that the project benefits the economy and that government conditions do not "scare away" investors.

He said a copra oil mill might mean a reduction in the Vanuatu Commodities Marketing Board's (VCMB) export capacity, and possibly a loss of jobs for VCMB employees and stevedores. Therefore, he added, it is important that strategies be put in place to minimize the economic impact of the planned oil mill.

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