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Fiji and Pacific 'easy targets'

Felix Chaudhary
Thursday, May 17, 2012

PACIFIC Island countries, including Fiji, are easy targets for traders exporting low, sub-standard and counterfeit goods.

However, Attorney-General and Minister for Industry and Trade Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said Fiji was leading the Pacific in addressing the trade of counterfeit goods.

Speaking at the opening of the 34th International Organisation for Standardisation Consumer Policy Committee summit at Nadi earlier this week, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said despite the huge challenges posed by counterfeit goods and trade, government had taken real steps to address the issue.

"With modernised protection laws, institutional structures, and a representative consumer body, Fiji has set the pace for the Pacific in the area of consumer protection," he said.

"Extensive studies in the region indicate that most Pacific Island countries do not have basic standards and conformance laws to address the issues and the needs of consumers.

"Since 2009, the Bainimarama government has amended and introduced over 212 laws to update the archaic provisions that were in place since the colonial era.

"The revamping of our laws also included increased consumer protection," said Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.

Consumer Council of Fiji chief executive officer Premila Kumar applauded the move by government to address counterfeit trade and upgrading of Fiji's laws to improve consumer protection.

"One of the biggest problems facing PICs is imitation or counterfeit goods," she said.

"Fiji, along with the Pacific, has embraced trade liberalisation and deregulation as part of the global village and we are trying our level best to keep pace with consumer protection.

"We applaud the comments made by the A-G that government is reviewing consumer protection laws to better protect consumers in the country.

"The reason this is urgently needed is because of the huge leap in technology and the sophistication of the trade in counterfeit goods," said Mrs Kumar.





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