Subsidized Imports Threaten Fiji Pig Farming Industry

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Local producers ‘hammered’ by overseas processed pork

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Oct. 10, 2012) – Fiji's pig farmers association has warned that the local industry is under threat from subsidized imports, with products made from imported pork on sale for at least 10 percent lower than local producers can supply it.

The imported products, which are Australian-branded, are made from pork produced in Europe and Canada's heavily subsidized markets.

Chairman of the Pig Farmers Association of Fiji, Simon Cole, told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat that while the fresh pork market will remain, Fiji's processed pork market will be "hammered."

"There's going to be a tightening, we're going to lose farmers, we're going to lose production to a subsidized product, and that just doesn't seem to make sense," he said.

Fiji's pork industry is worth FJ$16 million [US$9 million], compared with Australia's $3 billion [US$3.06 billion] industry.

Mr. Cole says the small Fijian industry is happy to compete with Australian growers but not government subsidized industries such as Canada's.

"We can compete with the Australian farmers and do compete with the Australian farmers," he said.

"Our industry here is not subsidized and we do compete therefore at a world trade level and I think that's an important benchmark. I don't want to be protected for the sake of being protected," he said.

Chief Executive of Australian Pork Limited, Andrew Spencer, says he objects to Canada's policy of heavily subsidizing its agricultural industry.

"We believe that for the benefit of the world, and it’s generally understood by economists, free trade is going to help not only developed economies but developing ones as well."

Mr. Spencer says pressure needs to be kept on subsidized producers to enter the level playing field, especially at forums like the Doha Development Round, the current trade negotiation round of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"We really do need Australia to work hard at our contribution to making sure that those types of rounds come to a conclusion that is going to progress world trade to a better place."

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