Global Economy: Australia Accepts Kava Imports
GLOBAL ECONOMY – According to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Australia will now accept the intoxicating drink kava imports. Further, the move of the country aims to strengthen closer ties with its Pacific neighbors. This is amid the escalating Chinese interest in the region.
China and Australia have been in tighter competitions vying for influence in the Pacific island countries. The region manages huge swathes of the ocean that are rich in resources.
In 2018, Vanuatu inked the Belt and Road initiative of China. Further, this is amid the vow of Australia that it will improve the region’s cyber-security capability.
As per Morrison, Australia plans to terminate the restrictions on kava primarily to improve the cultural ties. Kava is a mildly intoxicating brew that has been traditionally part of the Pacific islanders’ lives.
“I know it has been an issue for some time, we have agreed that we would be working to … ease some of the limitations on the importation of kava into Australia. Imports will begin with a pilot program,” Morrison said.
Based on traditions, Kava serves as the drink of chiefs and spiritual leaders. Further, this drink is the favorite triple of the Pacific and considered as Vanuatu’s major export.
The restriction for the Kava started in 2007 after reports revealed the abusive drinking of some of the indigenous communities.
However, Australia might have shifted this concern due to its rivalry with China.
“Kava is culturally very significant, tied into many ceremonies in the region. Easing the restrictions will be welcomed in the region,” said Jonathan Pryke of Sydney-based think-tank the Lowy Institute.
Meanwhile, Morrison became the first Australian prime minister who visited the region after almost 30 years.
Global Economy: IMF pursues loan discussion with Sri Lanka in February
The International Monetary Fund confirmed that it will continue its talks with Sri Lanka for the additional disbursal of part of a loan worth $1.5 billion. The discussion is set to happen after a three-month delay due to a political crisis.
Additionally, the bank said that the government of Sri Lanka decided to pursue a reform programme. This was after the government’s meeting with IMF managing director Christine Lagarde in Washington on Tuesday.
Last October 2018, Sri Lanka dove into political turmoil. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena terminated Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Then, he shut down the parliament. Consequently, the country now is struggling to regain investor confidence and pay down its debt.
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