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Fiji Water Backs Down in Faceoff With Military Government

Bottles of Fiji water rest on a shelf at Corky's 12th Street Market, in Cleveland. The US-owned company has agreed to a massive tax hike imposed by the military government of Fiji (FILE).

A top-selling bottled water firm has resumed operations in Fiji two days after shutting down it plant in a dispute over a 5,000-percent tax hike.

U.S.-owned Fiji Water said Wednesday after talks with government leaders that it has agreed to comply with the increase, which raises the levy on every bottle of water to 15 cents. The previous tax was three-tenths of a cent per bottle.

The company sells its water in dozens of countries and is a best-selling brand in the United States. It closed its plant Monday and laid off 400 workers, saying Fiji was becoming "increasingly unstable" and a very risky place in which to invest.

The military government of Commodore Frank Bainimarama said in response it was ready to accept tenders from other companies seeking to tap into the same artesian spring that is the source of Fiji Water.