Largest trading partner

The delegates pose for a group photo shoot during the Fiji New Zealand Business Council forum at the Tanoa Plaza Hotel in Suva yesterday. Picture: MONIKA SINGH

The pandemic had had resulted in a decline in the two-way trade between Fiji and New Zealand by 9.37 per cent, reducing to $813.90 million in 2021, says Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Koya.

However he said New Zealand continued to remain one of Fiji’s largest trading partners. He made the comments at the New Zealand Fiji Business Council Business Mission 2022 themed “Enabling Trade Recovery” at the Tanoa Plaza Hotel in Suva yesterday.

“Prior to the pandemic, our total two way trade was worth $898.07m. Fiji exports to New Zealand were worth $162m, largely underpinned by exports of fresh produce, pharmaceutical products and garments. Fiji is also New Zealand’s largest trading partner across the Pacific Islands and the only country in the region to be amongst its top 20 trading partners,” Mr Koya said.

Apart from the usual export and import, New Zealand was Fiji’s second largest tourist market and one of the fastest growing sources of international arrivals with more than 200,000 Kiwis visiting Fiji in 2019.

“Consequently, tourist arrivals and earnings in 2021, compared with 2019 pre-pandemic levels declined significantly. Visitor arrivals declined by 97.9 per cent to 532 visitors, and tourism earnings declined by 91.22 per cent to $0.4m, respectively.

“However, I am confident that there are opportunities to further secure our country’s economic future by means of enhancing our trade and investment relations. Similarly, we look forward to getting our tourism numbers back on track, as both Fiji and New Zealand continue to remove the travel restrictions. So far we have received 19,169 Kiwis since the opening of borders by the New Zealand Government in April,” he said.

Mr Koya said the recent appointment of Fiji’s new Trade Commissioner to New Zealand and Australia, Daniel Stow, demonstrated Fiji’s commitment to better leverage trade and economic opportunities.

“Our officer in charge, Camila Eiras, in Auckland has also been tasked to refocus and recognise our trade with New Zealand under the guidance of Mr Stow and the permanent secretary.”

Mr Koya told the delegates at the forum that this Business Mission signified the strong foundation of our relationship and our ambition to take our economic relations even further.

“Reflecting on the present global situation, it is pivotal that trade and investment be a central pillar in our shared global recovery while we strive for a greener, more inclusive and more resilient future for Fiji and New Zealand, which has been framed as the ‘Duavata Partnership’.

He highlighted the recent establishment of the Investment Act 2021, Investment Fiji Act 2022 and provided an update on the work that continued in the development of an online integrated application portal for investors.

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