Vanuatu Govt Investigates Free Trade Deal

VANUATU - A poultry business has been forced to close by imports of cheaper eggs and poultry meat from Fiji, prompting the government to investigate a regional free trade agreement.
calendar icon 24 March 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

A Vanuatu poultry business has shut down saying the impact of cheaper eggs and chickens from Fiji has forced it to close, reports Radio New Zealand International.

The poultry business owner, Joe Bong, says they had to cease operations because they could not compete with the Fiji products.

The Vanuatu Minister of Trade, Sato Kilman, says the government is investigating claims that Fiji is dumping eggs on the Vanuatu market.

Mr Bong says that it not only eggs but also Fijian chickens, which are now on sale in Vanuatu under the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) free trade agreement, which are causing problems.

Mr Bong says it is his understanding that the two main poultry firms in Fiji are Australian-owned, and local farmers want assurances the MSG free trade agreement is for the benefit of the Melanesians and not Australian investors in Fiji.

He says Australian investors already benefitting from the cheap labour in Fiji, and they should not be able to export under the free trade deal.

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