The Fijian government has launched a restructuring programme for its garment industry, which it hopes will save some 4000 jobs and $100 million in earnings.

Assistance is being provided by a team of Australian industry experts who will arrive in the country next week to study a report on the future of the industry.

The Fijian government has downgraded its economic growth forecast from 4.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent for the next two years due to an expected influx of cheap garments when textile quotas expire next year.

The government also hopes that its industry restructuring efforts, which Australia will fund as part of the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Co-Operation Agreement (SPARTECA), will improve its competitiveness and open up new opportunities in the Australian market.

The Fijian industry currently expects a 30 per cent drop in garment exports for 2005.