Fiji Time: 3:01 PM on Wednesday 17 January

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Market opportunities

Felix Chaudhary
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

FIJI could still enjoy a good price for its sugar by focusing on the Asia-Pacific market when duty-free access to the European Union ends this month, says Fiji Sugar Corporation CEO Graham Clark.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday in Lautoka, he said while this month brings an end to a lucrative deal with the European Union, it would open up opportunities for other markets.

"To date we have sold 93,096 of the 140,000 tonnes of sugar produced so far this year," he said.

"The EU protocol ends on September 30 and new marketing era will emerge whereby all of our interaction with our European customers will basically be conducted on commercial terms that are linked to the world raw sugar price.

"So we need to think how we can best operate to our own advantage and I think to capitalise on Fiji's geographic advantage."

Mr Clark said despite the preferential quota system ending this month, Fiji could still sell raw sugar to the European market.

"We don't lose access to the European market, that is now governed by the Economic Partnerships Agreement in place between Fiji and the EU.

"So the EU, including the UK, will remain a market for Fiji on duty-free, quota-free terms but the difference is before we had a guaranteed price that was significantly above the world price - that has now been abolished.

"And we now have to negotiate with customers in Europe to supply sugar priced against the world market.

"What we are seeking to do now is to negotiate with customers closer to home so we pay less in terms of sea freight to get the sugar there and therefore earn more just by that advantage than we would supplying Europe.

"In addition, Asian buyers would pay a good quality premium for the type of sugar we produce.

"So if we add the two together, we could earn a premium over what we earn in the traditional markets in Europe."

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