WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, July 22) - Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase said Australia is spearheading a very real threat to Fiji’s sugar industry through a challenge of the European Union’s preferential sugar prices.

The Fiji Times reports that Qarase made the comment at the opening of the African Caribbean and Pacific ministerial conference on sugar being held near Sigatoka in Fiji.

He said the challenge posed by Australia and Brazil, joined by Thailand, is against the spirit and letter of the World Trade Organization.

Qarase said the ACP nations have been completely ignored by the countries launching the challenge at the WTO.

The sugar minister from Mauritius - the only ACP country selling more sugar to the EU than Fiji - said Mauritius is trying to reduce its production costs but there is a limit it can reach.

Pravind Jagnauth, who is chairing the conference, said small ACP countries would never be able to bring down their costs to the level of the big producers like Australia and Brazil and the world must understand that.

July 22, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: 


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