Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
Australian Minister for Industry Science and Technology, Senator Nick Minchin
18 May 2000
Commonwealth Government Extends Import Credit Scheme
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, and the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Senator Nick Minchin, today announced an extension of the Import Credit Scheme, for exports to Forum Island Countries (FIC) only, until 30 September 2000.
The announcement follows from the recent visit to Australia of the Fiji Prime Minister, the Hon Mahendra Chaudhry, during which he drew attention to the serious dislocation which the impending closure of ICS would cause in Fiji due to the particular circumstances of its garment industry.
The extension of ICS is a temporary measure to allow for the finalisation of new provisions under the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (SPARTECA) to assist FIC producers, particularly those located in Fiji.
"This short extension for three months will provide a breathing space for the Fiji industry while new arrangements under SPARTECA to support industry adjustment are finalised," said Mr Downer.
"We will be working with the Fiji authorities to ensure suitable on the ground support for the new scheme is available by 1 October 2000, including through AusAID assistance with training."
In welcoming the development of the new scheme under SPARTECA, Senator Minchin stated: "The TCF trade between Australia and Fiji is an important one. The new scheme will help to support Fiji to adjust to a more competitive environment post-2005".
Contact: James Baker, Alexander Downer's office, 02 6277 7500
Steve Ronson, Senator Minchin's office,