Borders open pathways to boost New Zealand-Fiji bond

Visit connects Kiwi businesses with Fijian products

Fiji’s President Wiliame Maivalili with (from left) Chandar Sen, Charlotte Darlow and Renu Chand at the Conference in Denarau on June 20, 2022 (Photo Supplied)

Staff Reporter
Auckland, July 9, 2022

A business mission to Fiji had the opportunity of reassessing the existing and emerging opportunities for boosting two-way trade with New Zealand.

Organised by the New Zealand Fiji Business Council (NZFBC) with the support of the Auckland-based Fiji Trade Commission, the mission, led by New Zealand Fiji Business Council President Chandar Sen enlisted the participation of 40 New Zealand companies.

Following the reopening of the borders in both countries, the Council and the Fijian government considered the possibility of a week-long visit, he said.

“Our members have an interest across a range of sectors and modes of business; these include, manufacturing, boiler services, training and education, professional services and environmental management. The visit was very useful,” he said.

Awareness  and compliance

According to Mr Sen, the visiting New Zealand delegation had opportunities to learn about the resilience of the Fijian economy, the opportunities available, the business registration processes and support from government agencies.

The delegates also attended business-to-business meetings and a joint conference of the Fiji New Zealand and New Zealand Fiji Business Councils in Denarau.

The New Zealand Fiji Business Council worked closely with key partners including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Investment Fiji to offer its members a great variety of events, and the opportunity to connect with Fiji’s top players.

Mr Sen inaugurated the ‘Enabling Trade Recovery’ on June 20.

He welcomed Fiji’s Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji Charlotte Darlow and the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji Ariff Ali. The attendees heard the latest information from, Investment Fiji, Registrar Companies, Fiji Immigration Department, Fiji Revenue and Customs Services; and private sector entities, ANZ, Kookai, PwC and Outsource Fiji and the concerns of businesses.

Fiji’s Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Minister Faiyaz Koya with the New Zealand Fiji Business Council delegation.

Investor interest rising

Immigration Director Amelia Komaisavai said the number of applications from New Zealand investors has been on the increase.

“These include work permits and permission for tourism, which is still our leading industry. Real estate is also on the rise. We currently have 149 New Zealanders holding an investor permit and 86 of them continue to extend their investor permit,” she said.

A cocktail reception hosted by Ms Darlow at the New Zealand House in Suva was attended, among others by Osea Cawaru, Permanent Secretary for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Mark Dixon, CEO FRCS, Jenny Seeto, Investment Fiji Board Chair, and David Dewar, NZTE Trade Commissioner to the Pacific.

Largest Pacific Partner

“Fiji is Aotearoa’s largest and most significant economic partner in the Pacific region. The strength of the New Zealand delegation, the quality of their Fijian engagements, and the fact that this was the first delegation to visit Fiji since borders reopened underscore the closeness of that business partnership, as well as the scale of the opportunities available as Fiji and New Zealand both rebound from the Covid pandemic” Mr Dewar said.

The strong reconnection

More than 160 businesses, officials and others attended the joint conference held at Sofitel Fiji in Denarau, almost three years after the earlier meeting held at Eden Park, Auckland.

Panelists reflected on the theme, ‘New Beginnings: Partnering for a Sustainable Future.’

Fiji’s President Ratu Wiliame Maivalili Katonivere, who was the Chief Guest, acknowledged the role of the Councils in promoting friendship, goodwill and understanding between the business communities of Fiji and New Zealand.

“This joint conference is an important staging ground for co-operation between business and government leaders from Fiji and New Zealand,” he said.

Among the other speakers were Fiji New Zealand Business Council President Renu Chand, Mr Sen, Ms Darlow; Mr Ali and Ms Amelia Komaisavai.

The Joint Conference, 33rd in a series, coincided with Matariki, the Maori New Year with the first public holiday observed in New Zealand on June 24, 2022.

Ms Chand and Mr Sen said that the Conference theme ‘New Beginnings: Partnering for a Sustainable Future’ was aligned with Matariki (reflecting on the past, celebrating the present and looking to the future). They said that their respective Councils will continuously emphasise the importance of partnerships between New Zealand and Fiji as businesses in both countries strive for success to promote economic growth and prosperity.

Ms Chand said that the two Councils will work with their respective governments for the benefit of the people and members.

“We are looking forward to hosting the Conference again in 2024 in Fiji,” she said.

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