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TCF industry gets improved access to Aust market

 

Jan 06, 2015 08:59:01 AM

TCF industry gets improved access to Aust market With the implementation of the Developing Country (DC) Preferences by the Australian Government, from 1 January 2015, the Fijian Textile, Clothing and Footwear (TCF) industry is set to benefit from more favourable access for exports to the Australian market.

Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Koya, says this is a very positive development for the TCF industry.

“The DC Preferences will provide Fijian exports more favourable terms of access into the Australian market than the previous South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement–Textile, Clothing and Footwear (SPARTECA-TFC) Scheme, allowing for easier and simpler qualification requirements for duty free entry,” the Minister said in a Government statement.

He said the new rules will allow for greater flexibility for exporters to source raw materials from more efficient and cost effective sources, outside of Australia and the Pacific Region.

 “The Fijian TCF exporters, for example, will now be able to procure textiles, including woollen materials, from developing countries such as China, Bangladesh, India, Thailand and Vietnam, and then convert these into finished garments for duty free export into Australia."

Such flexibility was not included in the earlier SPARTECA-TCF Scheme.

And, for the first time, wool products are included as part of the new flexible rules.

After 13 years of existence, the SPARTECA–TCF Scheme expired on 31 December 2014.

The Scheme is now replaced by the Developing Country (DC) Preferences under the Australian System of Tariff Preferences.   

 This comes after a request by the Fijian Government to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, for an extension and a review, with the view to improve the terms and the rules, of the previous SPARTECA-TCF Scheme.

“The Australian market accounts for 85 percent of the total Fijian TCF exports, and there is potential for further expansion of exports and investment in the industry, with the new and more favourable market access conditions in 2015."

Minister Koya added that the Fijian Government over the past 6 years has assisted the TCF sector through a marketing grant that has enabled the industry players to group together to explore new markets and reinforce themselves in the existing markets.

“The FijiFirst Government will continue to explore ways to support the further development of the TCF Industry."

The TCF industry is an integral contributor to the Fijian economy, providing employment to about 5,500 workers, majority of whom are women, and comprises a significant component of Fijian exports in the manufacturing sector.

By Reginald Chandar

 

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