5 Aug 2004

Globalisation threatens Fiji clothesmakers, say NGOs

10:33 am on 5 August 2004

NGOs in the Pacific say Fiji's garment industry could be wiped out by trade liberalisation, and the onus is on New Zealand and Australia to help lessen the impact of this collapse.

About 17,000 people are employed in the industry which began with preferential access to markets such as Australia, but trade liberalisation means this has gone.

Barry Coates of OXFAM New Zealand says the Fiji Government has to take action to enable the industry to respond and to try and save what is still viable.

And he says the donor countries must also recognize that they have an obligation to help.

"There are examples from New Zealand's own programmes to help its garment industry of around about 18,000 workers, worker retraining, assistance with marketing, assistance with the visibility of the industry in Fiji, and perhaps most crucially, time for the industry to be able to adapt and reform under the new trading arrangements."