SUNBIZ

New TCF Agreement Benefits Fiji’s Aussie Market Access

Fiji’s Textile, Clothing and Footwear industry received a boost in the Australian market following the implementation of the latter’s Development Country Preferences. DC Preferences has replaced the South Pacific Regional
06 Jan 2015 10:30
New TCF Agreement Benefits  Fiji’s Aussie Market Access

Fiji’s Textile, Clothing and Footwear industry received a boost in the Australian market following the implementation of the latter’s Development Country Preferences.

DC Preferences has replaced the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (SPARTECA) and came into effect from January 1.

SPARTECA had expired on December 31 after 13 years of existence.

Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Koya, said this agreement was a very positive development for the 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,” Mr Koya said.

“This allows for easier and simpler qualification requirements for duty free entry.

He said the new rules would allow for greater flexibility for exporters to source raw materials from more efficient and cost effective sources, outside Australia and the 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,” he explained.

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.

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.

It was done so with the view to improve the terms and the rules, of the previous SPARTECA-TCF Scheme.

Mr Koya said, the Australian market accounts for 85 percent of the total Fijian TCF exports.

“With that, 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 said the Fijian Government over the past six years had assisted the sector through a marketing grant.

This had enabled 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,” he said.

The TCF industry is an integral contributor to the Fijian economy.

It is providing employment to about 5500 workers, majority of whom are women, and comprises a significant component of Fijian exports in the manufacturing sector.

The Fijian TCF industry is re-establishing itself to manufacture high-end fashion garments that require faster and high quality production.

Details on the Australian Developing Country Preferences can be obtained from the Ministry of Industry Trade and Tourism.

Feedback: ranobab@fijisun.com

 

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