Fiji Water has change of heart, re-opens

Fiji Water has re-opened its doors in the Pacific nation which gave the popular drink its name, less than 48 hours after announcing its closure.

On Monday, the company, owned by California entrepreneurs Lynda and Stewart Resnick, said it was closing its facility in Fiji, cancelling orders from suppliers and putting on hold several construction contracts in the country.

Fiji Water made the call to pull the pin because they'd been singled out for a massive tax increase by the government, led by self-appointed prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

But on Tuesday afternoon Fiji Water lawyers Craig Cooper and Marigold Moody met with Cdre Bainimarama and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and had a change of heart.

This morning the bottling factory on Yaqara Island, in the north of the island group, re-opened, according to a statement from Fiji Water.

The company agreed to comply with the government's new tax rate of 15-cents per litre on companies extracting more than 3.5 million litres of water a month - up from the current one-third of one per cent rate.

Fiji Water is the only company extracting that much water.

"Moving forward, Fiji Water is committed to working with the Fijian government, and remains dedicated to helping the country's economy and its people," the company said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Cdre Bainimarama said the company had "adopted tactics that demonstrate that Fiji Water does not care about Fiji or Fijians".

Following formal discussions, the prime minister said the call to re-open indicated Fiji Water's confidence in the stability of the military-led Pacific nation.

"(The) government is pleased that Fiji Water has decided to come on board and show its commitment to the country and its people," Cdre Bainimarama said in a statement.

The short closure came shortly after the interim government made a decision to deport an American executive of Fiji Water, David Roth, who allegedly interfered in the nation's domestic affairs.

Mineral water is the fourth largest foreign exchange earner in the country behind tourism, sugar and remittances.

- AAP

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