This publication contains the proceedings of the International Sugar Conference held in Fiji from 29 to 31 October 1997. The Conference was jointly organised by the Government of Fiji and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The Conference addressed "Policy issues for Asia and the Pacific in the Next Round of Mulitlateral Negotiations." The theoretical outlook, framework and analysis, and background documentation to these issues were prepared by the Sugar and Beverage Group of the Raw Materials, Tropical and Horticultural Products Service, Commodities and Trade Division, FAO. These were published as Conference papers, covering a range of issues and included country studies for the major regional producers and consumers; the quantitative outlook to 2005; the impact of trade liberalisation on the world sugar market; and a discussion on the nurtitional aspects of sugar.
Papers were also prepared and presented by internationally renowned speakers from the world sugar trade (Tote and Lyle - Australia; Sparks - United States; Siel Limited - India); grower and miller organizations (the Philippine Sugar Millers Association; the Thai Roong Ruang Group and the Australian Sugar Milling Council); government institutions (USDA and the Queensland Sugar Corporation) and other international organizations (World Bank and International Sugar Organization). The keynote addresses were given by the Honourable Mr Militoni Leweniqila, the Fiji Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and ALTA, and Mr J.N. Greenfield, the Director of the Commodities and Trade Division, who also summed up the proceedings.
Papers for the Conference were prepared before the deterioration in the world economic situation. Thus, the short-term prospects for consumption and trade in the region and elsewhere may be somewhat less favourable than envisaged at the time of the Conference. However, it is considered that the recent fall in prices is probably a temporary phenomenon and the factors analyzed in those papers will assert themselves. Moreover, the debate on trade liberalization is still relevant as we approach 1999.