NZ delegates meet for week-long business mission in Suva

New Zealand-Fiji Business Council President Chandar Sen is hopeful that when they conclude their week-long business mission in Fiji, visiting delegates will have sealed some business transactions and investments.

Sen is in the country with more than 20 business delegates from New Zealand to look at opportunities that they could tap into that would offer positive returns and boost trade between the two countries.

Trade between the two countries has plummetted from around $1 billion pre-COVID to around $540 million as a combined result of the pandemic and the collapse in the tourism sector.

On day one of their meeting in Suva today, the delegates heard from Investment Fiji, Registrar of Companies, the Fiji Immigration, Fiji Revenue Customs Services as well as the Reserve Bank of Fiji on the opportunities that are available in Fiji, the processes to register and set up a business in Fiji as well as the state of the Fijian economy.

Delegates also heard from local-based institutions such as ANZ Bank, Kookai on their experiences of doing business in Fiji as well as from Asian Development Bank and accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers about the kind of services they offer to facilitate and support the ease of doing business in Fiji.

“We have a mix of investors here, those who are continuing and those that are here for the first time,” Sen said.

“We are delighted with the response, and we are delighted with the responses that we have had from the four speakers from the government side about the changes and the ease with which we can do business in Fiji.”

NZ High Commissioner to Fiji Charlotte Darlow applauded the organisers for the initiative, wishing them success, and made particular mention of the objective of the mission – “Enabling Trade Recovery” saying it was timely and in line with the New Zealand Government’s Reconnecting New Zealand and Reset to Resilience strategies – as it reset relationships and priorities.

“New Zealand is part of the blue Pacific continent with Fiji, and it is uplifting to see the partnership progress from the COVID-19 response including budget support, vaccine and health support of the last couple of years – into bilateral trade and economic recovery. The Business Link Pacific support that provided concessional loans and business advisory services to Fijian MSMEs affected by COVID-19 was a key part of the economic recovery journey here in Fiji, and we will continue to provide similar support as we move into the next stage of recovery,” Darlow said.

The mission she added builds on the development set when Nanaia Mahuta first visited the Pacific – to Fiji in late March – where she signed the Duavata Partnership with Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama – that strengthened the foundation for current the future New Zealand – Fiji engagement, priorities and commitment.

“A key pillar of the Duavata Partnership is Economic Resilience – building resilience in our people particularly, including private sector led economic recovery from COVID-19 and seek creative solutions to the challenges of climate change.”

Tomorrow, the NZ business delegates will convene one on one business meetings in Suva before relocating to Nadi on Wednesday by bus via Kings Road to have a look at the designated tax-free region situated along the route. On Thursday, the delegates will meet with prospective partners based in the West ahead of the joint annual conference at the Sofitel on Denarau on Friday 24 June.

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