THE Trade Pasifika exhibition is expected to expand Fiji's export markets, chairman of the steering committee Kaliopate Tavola said yesterday.
The event, which promises to be an annual one, has 50 exhibitionists this year with the view that it will grow in the years ahead.
Mr Tavola made the comment as the Australia New Zealand Bank, major sponsors of the event, provided $30,000 for the three-day exhibition which will be held at the Sheraton in Nadi.
"The money goes to the pool. It's a sizeable sum and the biggest we've received. We are OK with funds," Mr Tavola said.
The exhibition will target the principal export markets of Australia and New Zealand with the view of expanding its reach to China, Japan, Philippines and beyond, Mr Tavola said.
Exhibitionists will comprise representative from 14 Pacific Island countries including Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.
The range of products provided will include pearls, coconut furniture, coffee, cocoa, coconut products, taro and banana chips to name a few.
"The Pacific Island countries are net importers. Most Pacific Island countries do not export goods and services in significant quantities," Mr Tavola had said in an earlier statement.
ANZ acting chief executive officer Pacific Central Region and Fiji Rakesh Ram said the annual growth rate for China's trade with the Pacific was more than 30 per cent from 2001 to 2008.
"In financial terms, that's an increase from $180million in 2001 to more than $2.1billion in 2008.
"Pacific businesses are well placed to maximise the opportunities of this increased connection between Asia and the Pacific.
"The challenge is to mobilise capability to take advantage of this opportunity.
"We are busy building our presence in Asia and making connections with our well established businesses in the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand," Mr Ram said.