PROTECTIONISM BLAMED FOR HIGH COSTS IN NEW CALEDONIA

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Consumers not being served by tax structure

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, April 16, 2009 - A survey released in New Caledonia this week blames the territory’s protectionist economy for its high cost of living.

Our correspondent there says the survey, commissioned by the territory’s largest union, USOENC, found that the structure of import taxes and retail profit margins went totally against the interests of consumers.

Claudine Wery says retailers’ margins increased from 48 percent in 1998 to 61 percent in 2007.

But she says the researchers found a high rate of economic growth in New Caledonia compared with other French overseas territories.

"New Caledonia encountered a very big growth for several years, approximately three to four percent by year. But the problem is that the sharing of the added value has been very unfair and they explained that all the benefits of the growth went to the capital and not to the salaries and not to the workers."

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