FIJI WANTS INTERNATIONAL TRADE PREFERENCES TO STAY

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 28,1999 - PACNEWS)---Fiji has reiterated to the international community that trade preferences, like the Lomé IV Agreement between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, should be retained to provide a firm foundation for the development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

"SIDS otherwise would have no chance at all of competing in the international area," said Sakiusa Rabuka, Fiji's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Rabuka was speaking at the 7th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-7) on the Barbados Program of Action on SIDS in New York.

"My delegation further believes that trade preferences have provided the necessary environment conducive to development through increasing national income, job creation and international competitiveness. In this regard, we welcome the statement on behalf of the EU that it will continue to give ACP countries special consideration in terms of trade relations," he said.

Rabuka also said the adverse impact of globalization of trade and financial markets has threatened to further marginalize SIDS.

"The recent decision by the World Trade Organization's Appellate Board on bananas from the Caribbean has amply demonstrated the negative side of the process. It has created anxiety among ACP states on the long-term benefits that would accrue out of the Lomé Convention and its protocols," he said.

"It has also called into question the ability of multilateral international institutions, in the face of globalization's momentum, to either respect, represent or take into account the consideration of the interests of the small and more vulnerable developing states."

The South Pacific Forum island member countries which are party to the Lomé IV agreement include Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tonga and Samoa.

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