Bid to increase trade

THE New Zealand market is relatively unchartered by Fijian exporters given its size and favourable trading rules and conditions, says Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Koya.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Mr Koya said despite our strong export performance, Fiji has had a negative balance of trade with New Zealand from 2010 to 2016, averaging $559.8 million per annum.

“New Zealand has been one of Fiji’s top 10 export destinations over the past five years, worth $106.6m on average,” he said.

“Up to 30 Fijian agro-commodities have clear quarantine export pathways established, which need to be better utilised.

“There is also significant potential for more diverse Fijian products to be supplied to our Pacific Islands diaspora and other market segments in New Zealand.”

While responding to a question on why Government had recently opened a trade commission in Auckland, Mr Koya said this was to play a key role in increasing foreign direct investment from New Zealand into Fiji.

Government had announced the decision to open a Fiji Trade Commission in Auckland last year with Fiji Consul General Sydney and Trade Commissioner to Australia and New Zealand as its non-resident Trade Commissioner.

The newly formed trade commission in Auckland that commenced operations on March 1 2018, is the fifth trade commission initiated by Government in the past three years.

He said the new trade commission would also assist Investment Fiji in the area of investment facilitation by providing support services to New Zealand investors.

In 2016, Fiji’s highest imports were from New Zealand valued at $842.9m.

There was $978.9m in two-way trade between New Zealand and Fiji in the year 2016.

Fiji’s major merchandise exports to New Zealand are sweet potato, taro, bread, biscuits, men’s/boy’s suits and wood.

In terms of investment, for the period 2010 to 2015, 60 New Zealand projects worth $81.6m were implemented.

The implemented projects, according to Mr Koya, created 509 jobs.

“Fiji’s strategic location in close proximity to New Zealand, existing trade and investment flows and close people to people links were key elements which factored into the Fijian Government’s decision to open its newest trade commission in the city of Auckland — the business hub of New Zealand,” he said.

“In addition, New Zealand remains a relatively untapped export market while having a significant trade deficit with Fiji and there is an urgent need for a higher number of investment projects from New Zealand to be registered and implemented in Fiji.”