SUVA, Fiji (Radio Australia, Jan. 1) – Fiji is warning that 200,000 jobs in the country’s sugar industry are at risk because of a challenge to Europe's sugar regime by Australia and Brazil.

Such a loss would be a heavy blow to the nation’s economy, Fiji officials say.

Brazil and Australia want African, Caribbean and Pacific sugar producing countries to sell their produce at world market prices and not at prices set by the European Union.

Fiji has been given the go ahead by the EU to become a third party to hearings at the World Trade Organization and will receive financial help to get legal advice and representation at the WTO proceedings.

Currently, Fiji gets special quotas and sells its sugar in EU markets at almost three times the world market price.

In the past five years, Fiji's sugar export earnings have been more than US$400 million.

January 1, 2002

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

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