US-owned bottled water company, Fiji Water, has reversed a decision to pull out of the military-led Pacific nation it sources its product from and will instead comply with a tax hike, the Los Angeles Times reported late Tuesday.
The decision followed a meeting between representatives of the company and Fiji government officials, with the operation expected to resume normal business Wednesday morning.
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The company, owned by Californian billionaire entrepreneurs Lynda and Stewart Resnick, issued an angry statement Monday, in which it said it was quitting the country and canceling supplier orders after the government announced that it was raising the water extraction tax to 15 Fijian cents a liter, from one-third of a Fijian cent.
Fiji's Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama in turn accused the company of not caring about the local people, and said the aquifer would be leased to another company.
Following the settlement of the dispute he told the Fijivillage news site that Fiji Water's decision was "great news."
Fiji Water employs about 400 workers and the Fiji Times reported Wednesday that mineral water is the nation's fourth largest foreign exchange earner behind tourism, sugar and remittances.