Fiji "running out of patience" with Vanuatu over ban on Fijian biscuits

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Friday, July 1, 2005

Fiji's Foreign Minister, Kaliopate Tavola, said that the letter being sent to Vanuatu's prime minister would be the final gesture of Fiji's friendship.

In March, the island nation Vanuatu banned the importation of Fijian biscuits. This was the second ban on Fijian biscuits by Vanuatu in the last six months. Vanuatu has said that this ban is necessary in order to stimulate Vaunatu's biscuit industry.

The company affected by this ban, Flour Mills of Fiji, exports nearly US$900,000 worth of biscuits to Vanuatu yearly. Flour Mills of Fiji has said that the ban has forced them to layoff about a dozen people. They also stated that they will be taking legal action against the Vanuatu government for the ban.

On June 13 the Fijian government announced its intention to stop all commercial relations with Vanuatu unless this issue was resolved. Commercial relations with Vanuatu include Air Vanuatu flights and the importation of Vanuatu kava. Fijian imports of Vanuatu kava bring approximately VT350 million (US$3.2 million) to Vanuatu each year.

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