The trade unionists who spearheaded the campaign to get the United States to look at removing Fiji from the list of countries who enjoy preferential duty free privileges, are being warned to expect the regime to retaliate.
The illegal government has been given three weeks to present written submissions to the United States Trade Representative Office following a hearing in Washington DC on Tuesday.
The regime has already argued the breaches cited in the AFL-CIO petiton are unfounded and is understood to be pushing for the U.S. to resolve the matter informally, pointing again to its supposed reforms, including the 2014 elections, and pending legislation on a new minimum wage.
The Frank Bainimarama government is said to be reeling from the union campaign to get the U.S. to punish it for the way it has allowed Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum to systematically strip workers and unions of their rights via decrees.
Regime moles say trade unionists Felix Anthony and Daniel Urai should be watching their backs over the illegal government's current predicament despite them saying they shouldn't be blamed for something Bainimarama and Khaiyum brought on themselves.
It's being suggested Khaiyum will find some way to use the Crimes Decree to implicate Anthony and Urai for 'sabotaging the economy and putting national security at risk.'
The union leaders have already been targets and the attacks on them are documented in the AFL-CIO petition.
The FTUC-led campaign has clearly put the illegal government on the back foot because there is a very real chance the U.S. could decide to rule in favour of the union petition, although some observers wonder if America has the mettle to follow through considering the situation with China.
Fiji is one of four countries who had to this week defend their trading privileges; two countries that have already lost preferential rights this year are Burma and Belarus.
In an interview with Radio Australia's Pacific Beat, Deputy Assistant US Trade Representative for the general system of preferences, William Jackson, who chaired the hearing, hints that the case is clear cut.
"When we are satisfied that the government has addressed those concerns the country can be readmitted to the GSP program.
"In most cases such as this the government does eventually take measures that address the key concerns.
"But if there is no progress toward that end that was when we would consider withdrawing or suspending the benefits of the country."
Jackson told Pacific Beat the Tuesday hearing was very 'business like' and there was 'no tension in the room', but regime moles say activity at the Government House and other information suggests the regime is in a real frenzy.