Plans for more trade commissions

GOVERNMENT is actively exploring opportunities to establish new trade commissions in Singapore and Mumbai, India over the medium term.

Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Koya told Parliament yesterday that this move would expand the network of Fijian trade commissions and ensure economic diplomacy was an indelible part of Fiji’s diplomatic representation abroad. “This is indeed a positive reflection on Fiji as a country that punches well above its weight in international markets and responds effectively and efficiently to the needs of our investors and exporters,” Mr Koya said.

“For our growing economy, trade commissions play a critical role in promoting the trade and investment interests of Fiji in our key markets.”

There are Fiji trade commissions placed in North America, Australia, Papua New Guinea, China and New Zealand.

Mr Koya said these trade commissions were located strategically in cities that were commercial capitals and business hubs.

“Our trade commissioners complement the efforts of our ambassadors and high commissioners in the diplomatic capitals in attracting foreign direct investment to Fiji and identifying market access opportunities for our budding exporters.”

Mr Koya said within a short period of time over the past three years, the combined performance of our Fijian trade commissions had supported hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of foreign direct investment into Fiji that have in turn created hundreds of employment opportunities for locals.

“This includes the Wyndham Silk Road Ark project valued at $500 million and the soon to be completed Sofitel Momi Bay project valued at $80m,” he said.

“We also have a number of other projects in the pipeline working with companies in the ICT, tourism, agriculture, forestry and manufacturing sectors.”

Mr Koya said in terms of exports, Fijian products such as baby ginger have been exported to Australia, while beverages (bottled water and beer) and beauty products were now being distributed in Hong Kong and mainland China.

The Melanesian countries, he said, had also become Fiji’s biggest export markets for our manufactured products, such as canned meat and biscuits.

“Apart from ensuring our trade commissions are led and driven by highly capable teams, the Fijian Government has also ensured appropriate resourcing is provided to these key offices,” Mr Koya said.

“We have increased the operational budgets of our trade commissions in the past three years, thereby ensuring more targeted trade and investment related activities are undertaken in these markets that has reaped immediate results.”

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