A trade continuity agreement will see British businesses and consumers benefitting from continued trading arrangements with Fiji and Papua New Guinea after the UK leaves the EU.
International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox signed the UK-Pacific agreement in London last week with the Papua New Guinea and Fiji High Commissioners.
The news has been welcomed by businesses including Tate & Lyle Sugars and Fiji Sugar Corporation, who say the sugar industry provides a living to nearly a quarter of the Fijian population.
The agreement allows businesses to trade as freely as they do now, without any additional barriers or tariffs. It eliminates all tariffs on all goods imported from Fiji and Papua New Guinea into the UK and will gradually remove around 80% of tariffs on British exports to these countries.
These preferential terms are part of the UK government’s commitment to supporting developing countries to reduce poverty through trade. It will help them to grow their economies, create jobs, increase incomes and reduce reliance on overseas aid in the long-term.
The government confirmed that it would retain tariffs on some products in a no deal scenario, including raw cane sugar and some types of fish, to protect livelihoods in developing countries.
International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: “I am delighted to sign this trade continuity agreement today as it will allow businesses to keep trading as freely as they do today, even in a no deal scenario. This is good news for British business and consumers who will continue to benefit from the continued supply of products, including sugar and fish.
“The agreement will also benefit thousands of people in some of the furthest reaches of the Commonwealth, with around a quarter of Fijians relying on employment through the sugar industry according to the Fiji Sugar Corporation and more than a quarter of the sugarcane they produce being exported to the UK.”
One company set to benefit from the Pacific Islands continuity agreement is UK business Tate and Lyle Sugars who over the last five years have sourced over 350,000 tonnes of raw cane sugar from Fiji.
The firm, which directly employs 850 people in the UK, produces over 650 sugar, syrup and treacle products. This includes the iconic Lyle’s Golden Syrup – the UK’s oldest, unchanged brand.
Gerald Mason, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Tate & Lyle Sugars said: “Tate & Lyle Sugars warmly welcomes today’s signing of the Pacific trade continuity agreement.
“Fiji is a long-term supplier of ours. Ensuring we can continue to source raw cane sugar from there is critical to the future success of our business, particularly our two refineries in London and the 850 people we directly employ in the UK. We now look forward to continuing our close relationship with our suppliers in Fiji and the communities they in turn support.”