Nearly two dozen businesspeople from New Zealand will visit Fiji next week as part of a business mission led by the New Zealand Fiji Business Council (NZFBC).
The mission, which will travel to Fiji between June 27 and July 1, is one of the largest ever business delegations from New Zealand into the island nation, according to NZFBC Chairman Chander Sen.
“What started out as a delegation of about 10 companies when the idea was first mooted has grown to 22-plus in the run up to the trade mission,” Mr Sen told Pacific Periscope.
The mission comes just weeks after New Zealand Prime Minister John Key visited Fiji –the first time an NZ prime minister visited the island nation in nearly a decade. Mr Sen believes the strong interest in Fiji among Kiwi businesses is because of the growing Fijian economy and the country’s political stability. “The numbers clearly show business and investor-confidence in the business environment in Fiji,” he said.
Two-way trade figures between Fiji and New Zealand in the recent past are encouraging: New Zealand goods imports from Fiji amounted to NZ$55.12 million in December 2015, a 6.7 per cent increase over the previous 12-month period. Among the drivers of this growth were clothing and apparel at NZ$10.9 million; dalo and cassava at NZ$10.88 million and biscuits: NZ$6.2 million. Meanwhile, NZ’s exports to Fiji for the same period increased 13.26 per cent from the previous year to NZ$417 million.
Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I) NZ is an active member of the delegation with a team of three lead by Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade. In fact, this is the second trade delegation to Fiji this year that PT&I is participating in. Mr Sen acknowledged PT&I’s support saying its participation was greatly welcomed by the council because of the knowledge base and market connections that the Trade Commission had.
Mr Sen said there was all round support from stakeholders both in New Zealand and Fiji. “To support the objectives of the mission, Fiji’s High Commissioner in New Zealand Filimone Waqabaca is accompanying the delegation – a first for such a mission,” he said.
Among the many significant activities planned in Fiji are meetings with Investment Fiji CEO Godo Muller Tuet and his team, who have also helped organise meetings with or between interested parties, Mr Sen said. The mission includes a cross-section from SMEs to some of New Zealand’s largest public listed companies.
The programme commences in Nadi on Monday June 27, with an address to the delegates by the ANZ Banking group. It would follow site visits to Douglas Pharmaceuticals and Hawkins Construction, contractor for renovations at Nadi Airport to enable the delegates to have a first-hand exposure on NZ companies, operating in Fiji. On Tuesday, the delegation would travel via Kings Road with site visits at Punja’s biscuit factory in Lautoka, R.C. Manubhai facilities in Ba and Fiji Water in Raki Raki, Mr Sen revealed in an email to Pacific Periscope.
In Suva Minister for Trade, Industry and Tourism, Faiyaz Koya, will address the delegation. Meetings with the Reserve Bank of Fiji, Investment Fiji, Immigration Department and Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority will also be held in addition to one-on-one business meetings. “A networking cocktail evening with our sister council together with the New Zealand High Commissioner has been scheduled for Thursday, Mr Sen said.”
The mission will culminate with a visit to the Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama with the final event being the first ever Super Rugby match at the ANZ Stadium between the Chiefs and Crusaders. Mr. Sen said that they were expecting and hopeful of writing a few million dollars’ worth of business as a result of the trade mission to Fiji.
PT&I, along with the Fiji Export Council, is hosting two workshops of the PT&I Path to Market Programme in Nadi and Fiji, which more than 60 companies will attend. Click here for more on the Path to Market workshops.
For more information, email Manuel Valdez, COO and Head of Investment, PT&I NZ at firstname.lastname@example.org