12 Nov 2008

Pacific kava exports to Europe expected to resume

2:09 pm on 12 November 2008

The International Kava Executive Council expects the kava trade to return to normal within two years after an agreement reached in Brussels.

The Council, the European Commission and the German Government have agreed on a two-year process to restore the trade after six years of bans over possible health risks.

The Fiji Kava Council chairman, Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo, who is one of the international council representatives, says two factors helped convince the Europeans to reconsider the bans.

"The fact that because of the overwhelming scientific evidence they have no more legal grounds to stand on, and the fact that we have now also sought legal advice from European lawyers, who have advised that the position taken by the German authorities was found to be wanting."

Ratu Josateki says they have allowed two years to sort out any remaining conflicts in the research and for Pacific growers to improve quality control of kava, before the trade can resume.