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APIA, Samoa (March 1, 2002 – Radio Australia)---Samoa’s Deputy Prime Minister Misa Telefoni has called on the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to mount a high level delegation to the European Union to negotiate an end to a ban on kava imports.

Germany, France and Britain imposed the ban after a German health report linked kava with liver disease.

Mr. Telefoni told a World Bank seminar in Sydney that the ban is having a drastic effect on the kava industry in the Pacific, where Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and Vanuatu are all major exporters of the product.

He said there is close to US$ 100 million worth of kava in the ground in the Pacific.

"People have got kava say for harvesting now, for which there is no market and, of course, they have got kava coming in the next five to six years," he noted. "So if you look at that it may, in fact, be more than 100 million U.S. dollars."

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

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