Bid to boost trade

British High Commissioner to Fiji, Melanie Hopkins during an interview with The Fiji Times at her office in Suva on Monday, May 14, 2018. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

DEEPER business relationships between Fiji and the UK are expected with moves spearheaded by the British government.
Speaking to this newspaper, British High Commissioner to Fiji Melanie Hopkins said they were in discussions with a number of companies in the UK and were flagging opportunities for them in Fiji.

“In parallel, we are taking forward informal discussions with the Fijian Government about a ‘Trade Roll-Over’. This will enable Fiji to continue to trade with the UK after the UK’s exit from the European Union,” Ms Hopkins said.

“Historically, the main areas of trade have been around sugar, aviation and a little bit on tourism and infrastructure. Now we are looking at infrastructure and at opportunities to grow there.”

“For me as the high commissioner, this is really a nice side of the relationship because when I go and visit for example some sugar farms near Lautoka, that sugar is exported to UK and ends up on the supermarket shelves.

“With our exit from the EU, because trade policy is an EU responsibility, we are now beginning to work more closely with Fiji on trade and we really welcome that.”

She added in the coming months, the British High Commission in Suva was going to expand and is recruiting more staff which would help in the trade sector. “This is part of a deeper UK engagement with the Pacific overall,” Ms. Hopkins said.

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson announced that the UK would open three new diplomatic posts, which will give the UK the greatest reach among European partners in the region.

“We will also expand our presence in Suva as a regional hub,” she said.

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