30 Apr 2007

ACP meeting with EU over sugar to get under way in Nadi today

10:46 am on 30 April 2007

A major sugar meeting involving the African Caribbean and Pacific countries gets underway in Nadi with Fiji and all the other ACP nations hoping that the EU will continue to assist them in the sugar industry.

Ministers from the ACP countries are due to map out strategies to ensure that the European Union assistance continues, as the preferential prices for sugar ends in 2009.

Commodore Bainimarama told Fiji Village the meeting is aimed at finding the best way forward for the ACP member states in their collective effort to maintain the current Super Protocol trade agreement with the EU.

He said the ACP countries could head for economic ruin if a solution is not found.

Interim Sugar Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry has said about 200 thousand people depend on Fiji's sugar industry and it is time that the stakeholders look at cutting costs and aim at greater efficiencies to move ahead.

European Commission head in the Pacific, Doctor Robert Ridolfi is also expected to be present in the meeting.