V. MULTILATERAL TRADE AND ENVIRONMENT AGREEMENTS IN DOMESTIC POLICY FORMULATION IN FIJI
G. Environmental considerations and competitive advantage of Fiji
Some current land-use practices pose serious environmental concerns (e.g., widespread indiscriminate burning, cultivation of sugar and ginger on steep slopes, excessive use of weedicides in the expansion of the taro industry, felling of primary forests to plant kava, and unsustainable logging practices ). Yet there is an opportunity to develop markets based on environmental sustainability which capitalize on the increasing health concerns and environmental awareness of consumers in importing countries. There is a general market perception of Fiji (with some justification) as unpolluted and relatively unspoiled environment. That perception needs to be viewed by policy makers and the community, as a very valuable economic resource that needs to be safeguarded.
In particular, Fiji has a number of distinct advantages in developing significant certified organic, and commercial “green” product industries, and as well as tourism-based on the natural environment (Asian Development Bank, 1996). Those are all products that have high income elasticity, the demand for which can be expected to grow rapidly compared with income in a new world trade environment. This is in marked contrast to sugar, Fiji’s main export commodity.