69pc growth in Fiji-Japan bilateral trade

Participants of the inaugural Fiji-Japan Trade and Investment Symposium. Picture: SUPPLIED

BILATERAL trade flows have increased in recent years with the total volume of trade between Fiji and Japan growing from $152.6m in 2013 to $257.5m in 2017.

This was an increase of 69 per cent while on average trade between the two countries has surged to 21 per cent annually for the past five years.

Minister for Industry Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Koya highlighted this while officially opening the inaugural Fiji-Japan Trade and Investment Symposium in Nadi yesterday morning.

The inaugural meet is the two countries’ bid to strengthen relations and the possibility of establishing a bilateral trade council.

“Year after year, we have welcomed more and more new investors into Fiji and seen businesses grow, and the big boost in the business activity has dropped our unemployment rate to the lowest recorded in 20 years,” Minister Koya said.

“Foreign direct investment is a connection between our nations as well. A total of 15 Japanese projects were registered for the period 2013 to 2017 with a total worth of approximately $16.9 million. Forty eight (48) percent of these projects have been in the services sector,” Mr Koya said.

“The direct flight between Fiji and Japan will not only ease the movement of people, but will also create opportunity for export of fresh fruits and vegetables amongst other products.”

The two-day symposium at the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa on Denarau Island includes a large host of tourism and trade operators and Japanese Government officials led by Japan’s Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Katsunori Takahashi.

Both Ministers noted that the recent resumption of direct flights between Japan’s Narita Airport and the Nadi Airport by Fiji Airways would considerably boost tourism between the two countries.

“Of all Pacific countries, Fiji has the highest numbers of visitors to Japan,” Vice-Minister Takahashi noted.

He extended an invitation for Fiji to participate in the upcoming JATA Tourism Expo 2018 in Tokyo this September.

Organized by the Japan Association of Travel Agents, the event is a leading world tourism exhibition to market international destinations and aimed at increasing Japan’s outbound tourism.