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Boost for TCF sector

The textile clothing and footwear (TCF) industry has rapidly become a critical part of the economic structure of Fiji, exporting garments to Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Pacific island countries over the recent year.

And government has reassured industry stakeholders of its support as they are major contributors to the Fijian economy.

Ministry of Industry and Trade permanent secretary Shaheen Ali said the Fijian Government identified the TCF industry as an integral contributor towards providing employment to Fijians.

He said the industry employed about 5500 workers and majority were women.

Mr Ali acknowledged the industry's role in the economy at TCF's annual general meeting and industry discussion in Suva this week.

"Fiji has the potential to become a leader in the TCF industry in the Pacific and beyond with a focus on quality and targeting niche markets where the industry had (or could develop) a competitive advantage," he said.

"Government is committed to working with industry players to identify and overcome these challenges by implementing reforms to adapt to the ever-changing international trading rules."

TCF council president, Kaushik Kumar, expressed the council's appreciation to government for its support through a marketing grant to the TCF industry.

"We have been receiving $100,000 a year under the national export strategy grant, which has been used very effectively to promote the TCF sector in the overseas markets, mainly in Australia, participating in trade fairs in USA," Mr Kumar said.

"Advertisements and promotions in industrial-related magazines have only been possible because of the funding we have received from government."

He said the results of their participation and promotional activities had seen an increase in the employment numbers in the industry as well as increase in import figures.

(Source: The Fiji Times)