Update: 1.42pm EUROPEAN bans on kava products have cost the Pacific Islands more than $US1b in the past six years, now a regional NGO is calling for the industry to be re-opened.
Based in Suva, the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG), says a new World Health Organisation (WHO) report shows kava exports to Europe can be safely resumed.
PANG coordinator Roshni Sami said the WHO report indicates pharmaceutical products made from kava are safe.
''The report shows what people in the Pacific have known for thousands of years,'' said Ms Sami. ''That moderate use of kava is perfectly safe.''
Ms Sami said the WHO report recommended safety provisions should apply to the sale of kava-products, but this did not mean that they should be banned outright, says Pacnews.
''The European authorities have been dragging their feet on this issue,'' said Ms Sami.
''There are far more dangerous products freely available throughout Europe, like cigarettes and alcohol.''
She said PANG was highlighting this issue to illustrate how significant non-tariff barriers can be to Pacific products in the export market.
''The Pacific has effectively had duty free and quota free access to the EU market since 1975 yet we still export predominantly raw commodities sugar and tuna - part of the reason we do not have more value-added processing, and more jobs in the Pacific is because of these complex non-tariff barriers.