TUVALU DEPUTY PM TUILIMU SAYS ECONOMY WILL IMPROVE

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FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu (January 31, 2000 – Radio Australia)---Tuvalu's Deputy Prime Minister, Lagitupu Tuilimu, believes there will be a steady improvement in his country's economy over the next few years.

However, he said, this will depend on the success of measures introduced by the current Government.

Mr. Tuilimu concedes that Tuvalu has been struggling to sustain and develop its economy since independence in 1978.

However, he said, the revenue earned from fishing licenses -- about 40 percent of the Government’s revenue in 1998 -- will continue to benefit the country.

Mr. Tuilimu said that despite concerns about the proposed regional Free Trade Area (FTA) on Tuvalu's economy, the country must be part of it.

He said copra is one industry that could benefit significantly under the FTA plan.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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