Two-way trade ties

Australian High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes (second from right) with Raine & Horne GM International Bill Russell (left) and local director Charan CJ Shergill at Holiday Inn Suva on Wednesday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

FIJI and Australia are trade partners in an exciting region, says Australian High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes. “Global patterns of trade are changing year by year, offering major opportunities for exporting economies like Fiji and Australia,” he said.

Mr Feakes made the comment during Raine & Horne Group’s 135 year celebrations and the launch of its new Suva office at Holiday Inn, Suva on Wednesday.

“Forging stronger bilateral trade and investment ties between our two countries is one of my biggest priorities and a vibrant and growing business sector is critical to success in this,” Mr Feakes said.

He said Fiji and Australia enjoyed a $A2.1 billion ($F$3.2b) two-way trade relationship, and it had been moving in the right direction.

“Ten years ago it was $A1.2 billion ($F1.8b),” he said.

Mr Feakes said more than 15 per cent of Fiji’s merchandise exports were for Australia, surpassed only by the US 18 per cent because of FIJI Water exports and Australia is Fiji’s second largest source of merchandise imports, behind New Zealand.

“In practical terms more than 3000 Australian businesses export to Fiji and around 365,000 Australians visited Fiji last year,” he said.

The Australian head of mission said Fiji captured an impressive 55 per cent market share of Australian tourists visiting the Pacific — not including New Zealand.

“It is this tourism demand that underpins and supports our trading relationship, and contributes to Fiji’s sizeable and growing trade surplus.”

He said to date, Australian investors had invested more than $F1.3b in Fiji, around one-sixth of all foreign investment in Fiji.

He added they were attracted by the favourable policy and regulatory environment in Fiji. Mr Feakes said this had stepped up and since 2013, there had been 118 realised Australian investment projects in Fiji, with a value of $A190 million ($F279m) and these projects had created 1773 jobs.

“And we can’t overlook Fijian investment in Australia which is valued at $A502 million,” he said.

Mr Feakes said these remarkable numbers demonstrated the sturdiness of the commercial and business ties between Fiji and Australia.

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