6 Aug 2004

World Trade Organisation ruling hits Fiji sugar firms

10:27 am on 6 August 2004

The World Trade Organisation has delivered a devastating blow to Fiji's already ailing sugar industry.

In a ruling in Geneva yesterday, the WTO decided in favour of a case brought by Brazil, Australia and Thailand which sought to prevent the EU from paying preferential prices for sugar imports from developing ACP countries like Fiji.

For nearly 20 years Fiji's sugar industry, run by small-holder farmers, has been totally dependent on the EU's preferential prices which are three to four times higher than world market levels.

Details of when the subsidised prices will be phased out are not immediately available but the EU will be forced to comply with the WTO ruling.