with the aim of broadening the horizons of businesses in Fiji, Minister for Trade Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum urged businesses to join the new wave government had created to reach the global markets.
Speaking to guests and members of the diplomatic corps at the launching of the Prime Minister's Exporter of the Year Awards, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said under the Bainimarama Government, there had been a major drive towards incentivising exporters to broaden their horizons to enable them to grow their markets.
He said the awards event had grown from strength to strength reaching a milestone of 20 years this year.
Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said government had created a new wave of incentives to help boost businesses and promote the Fijian-Made products in the international markets.
"Some of the incentives that have been put in place are the massive reduction in corporate tax rates, the zero rating of importation of plants and equipment for manufacturing," he said
"We have an opportunity through this award system to recognise those industries, those producers who have struggled, some of them quite a lot to be able to reach the particular stage they have."
He said this public recognition had resulted in many producers being able to position themselves in the market. They were able to access funds which they would have not been able to do so.
"Indeed we have focused on the small and medium enterprises over the past few years," he said. There's a fund of about $3million with the Reserve Bank of Fiji targeted specifically for small and medium enterprises. This is where the government puts up a grant fund to bridge the gap that perhaps those independent businesses could not meet."
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said there were a number of exciting projects happening in Fiji.
"The fact we are now licensing mahogany production, a position of Fijian products in the global market. We've have now registered that product in 28 different countries, coupled with the fact that we are now able to position Fiji in the external market with the opening of new embassies. The major focus on those embassies is to position Fiji on the global market."
He said the Prime Minister would be opening the new Korean embassy this month and in August and September a new Fiji embassy in the Middle East.
"Fiji of course cannot necessarily compete on the volume of the other markets, but has an added advance by way of producing pacific products. With the Fijian made, Fijian package product, we are able to draw a distinct brand which can capitalise locally, but people will recognise it offshore.
"Somebody a few weeks ago, gave me a bottle of deodorant which is the Old Spice, many of you would have grown up with Old Spice and the new line of Old spice is called Fiji," he said.
"They did not seek our permission to use the word but obviously, they recognise the value in the word Fiji. This ladies and gentlemen is what we are trying to do through the policies that we put in place. It's to create the particular niche and develop a very strong brand of Fiji."
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Fiji Trade and Investment Board was now called Investment Fiji, Fiji Visitors Bureau was now Tourism Fiji, Fiji Audio Vision Commission was now Film Fiji, Air Pacific will be Fiji Airways.
He said there were numerous other opportunities in order for Fiji to position itself. "We urge all of you to be able to participate and ride this wave that has been created, that has been enabled, that has been facilitated for us to be able to reach out in the global market."