TCF industry reaches out to potential markets

Considering the success of the Fiji trade investment mission to Papua New Guinea in April this year, the textile, clothing and footwear industry stands to gain $10million-$15million if the opportunities are pursued diligently.

TCF Council president Kalpesh Solanki said members had been doing their own work in establishing contacts with clients in the resource-rich country. "Some of the significant projects in TCF include the entire Bank of South Pacific uniform contract — so all the uniforms for BSP in the region have been made in Fiji and this is an example of what Fiji is capable of," he said during the handover of a $100,000 marketing grant to the council by Ministry of Industries and Trade permanent secretary Shaheen Ali last week.

"The total export value to PNG for all products is about $23m and I believe there are talks of supplying to the PNG defence forces and the mining sector."

Although the industry does not have preferential access to the US, Mr Solanki said they were working on a strategy for international markets.

"Once this is done we'll focus on the type of products for the US market. At this stage, there are companies who export in small volumes and it ranges from basic fashion to work wear." Mr Ali said they appreciated the continuous dialogue with Australia regarding the TCF sector in general and the rules of exports at industry to industry level.

He said there had been challenges in trying to get Fijian TCF products into the competitive Australian market and hoped the preferential rules could continue beyond 2014 even though the preferences were eroding in terms of Australia's duty decreasing.

(Source: The Fiji Times)