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Fiji and New Zealand continue to strengthen their long-standing trade and investment relationship with a week-long trade mission led by Fiji’s Deputy Prime Minister, Manoa Seru Nakasubaria Kamikamica. This is the first international trade and investment mission since the new government was formed in Fiji, facilitated by the country’s trade and investment agency Investment Fiji.

During his keynote address, Deputy Prime Minister Kamikamica said NZ remains Fiji’s largest investment and trading partner, highlighting that the value of two way trade between the countries amounted to $813 million in 2021. This mission aims to increase private sector development, investment, employment, and establish Fiji as a Pacific hub for trade, technology, and aviation. The Deputy Prime Minister expressed gratitude to the people of NZ for their continued support during the Covid-19 pandemic.

NZ is now the second-largest source of tourists and trade to Fiji, with services mainly comprising tourism, seeing a 350 per cent growth since the pandemic ended, which is two-thirds of the pre-Covid value of services.

Damian O’Connor, NZ’s Minister of Agriculture, Biosecurity, Trade and Export Growth, Land Information and Rural Communities praised Fiji’s impressive post-pandemic growth of 15 per cent, with two-way trade growing 88 per cent to $990 million according to the latest statistics.

He acknowledged the two countries’ deep, friendly ties and appreciated the fact that Fiji had sent in its military and firefighting personnel to aid in the rehabilitation of communities affected by Cyclone Gabrielle, particularly in provincial NZ.

He also urged Fiji’s leadership to consider joining Pacer Plus, a regional trade agreement that Fiji and Papua New Guinea, two of the region’s most significant economies have so far avoided signing up to.

The day’s panel discussions dealt with a range of issues that affect trade and inward investment into Fiji such as repatriation of funds, immigration, biosecurity, land ownership and leasing, finance and taxation, besides others. Domain experts and top departmental officials who were on the panel answered queries from attendees.

Prominent panellists and moderators were Investment Fiji CEO Kamal Chetty, University of Canterbury academic of Fijian origin Steven Ratuva, Auckland Chamber of Commerce Chief Simon Bridges, Pacific Trade & Invest Trade Commissioner (NZ) Glynis Miller, NZTE Trade Commissioner in Fiji David Dewar, Esala Masitabua, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of Fiji, Mark Dixon, CEO, Fiji Revenue & Customs and Michael Bartlett, CEO of Biosecurity Fiji among several orger senior officials from the Fijian government.

Fiji-NZ Business Council President Renu Chand led a Q&A session with the panellists and her counterpart NZ-Fiji Business Council President Chandar Sen proposed a vote of thanks.

The trade mission included more than 20 Fijian companies besides trade officials from both countries. They will attend conferences in Auckland and Wellington, as well as one-to-one meetings.

The New Zealand Fiji Business Council hosted cocktails on Monday evening at which both the Deputy Prime Minister and Charan Jeath Singh, Minister for Fiji’s Sugar Industries addressed the guests.

Members of the business delegation had one-to-one meetings with NZ businesses on Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 March  and met clients of top consulting firms in Auckland.

ANZ Bank hosted a breakfast for Deputy Prime Minister Kamikamica on Wednesday morning which was attended by businesspeople and the heads of ANZ’s operations around the Pacific Islands. The Deputy Prime Minister and ANZ’s Sydney-based Pacific Economist addressed the gathering.

The delegation will travel to Wellington for a conference and meetings on Thursday 23 March.

First appeared in The Indian Weekender 23 March 2023