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MIYAZAKI, Japan (April 25, 2000 – Fiji’s Daily Post)---Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has hinted at special trade deals for South Pacific countries to ensure they are not disadvantaged by trade liberalization.

Speaking after the Japan/Pacific Islands leaders summit in Miyazaki, Mr. Downer said it was important that South Pacific countries were not left out by globalization.

"Now what they understandably are concerned about is that they don't get left behind," he said. "I think that it is a fair point, and I agree with them about that. And the best illustration of that is information technology."

He said it is critical that developing countries in the South Pacific are able to maintain the pace of reforms in information technology.

"Countries like Australia, Japan, and New Zealand, through our aid programs and the United Nations, need access to the software, they need access to the hardware," he said. "We need to do what we can to make sure that South Pacific countries do not left behind by globalization.... they don't fall out of the loop."

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fijilive.

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