RESOLUTIONS BY KAVA INDUSTRY REPRESENTATIVES AT THE PACIFIC HERBS BUSINESS FORUM
Representatives of the growers and exporters of kava in Pacific Island Countries here at the Pacific Herbs Business Forum have resolved that because we are unable, as individuals, to effectively address the current kava trade problem, the following actions should be taken in respect of the disruption to the kava trade between the South Pacific countries and Europe which occurred, without warning or advice.
We request that that the regional organizations, the Forum Secretariat and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community contact the CDE and COMSEC to assist in carrying out the following actions :
· Write to the various European regulatory authorities that have implemented a ban or are contemplating restrictions on kava to provide a clear explanation and basis for their actions or the actions that they may take.
· Contact major importers of kava in Europe and the USA, addresses to be obtained from the Pacific exporters, to obtain their view on the current restrictions on the kava trade.
· Open discussions with the Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE), Belgium. This EU organisation has promoted kava growing and processing in the Pacific for several years in partnership with the Forum to seek their assistance in this matter.
· Request the Forum Geneva Representative to advise on seeking action from the WTO under either TBT, Technical Barriers to Trade, or under SPS, Sanitary or Phytosanitary Measures :and how any evidence from the WHO could be applied in these actions.
· To seek funds, under such schemes as STABEX, to compensate farmers and exporters for losses of crops and exports in the kava producing countries caused by the unexpected disruption to the kava trade without any prior warning.
· For the Pacific Island Countries to seek support for reputable and independent medical research on the safety of kava as a traditional beverage.
· For the Pacific Island Countries to request WHO to convene an expert panel to examine the scientific evidence concerning the alleged adverse health effects of kava.
· For the Pacific Island kava producing States to recruit the services of a professional consultant to represent their interests and address the negative publicity in both the USA and Europe.
· Research needs to be carried out on other health benefits of kava for products for the western markets. Partnerships should be developed to facilitate this.
· Kava quality standards need to be adopted and implemented by the kava exporters in the Pacific. The kava exporting countries need to determine the most appropriate way to implement and enforce internationally accepted standards.
Furthermore, in order to counteract as far as possible the adverse press reports, we propose that the recommendations of this meeting be publicised as widely as possible through a press statement.
In conclusion, we request the Governments of kava exporting countries to endorse this statement and undertake steps to implement the actions for the recovery and development of this agriculture sector that is important to the economies and farmers in the kava exporting countries.