Fiji’s trade roadshow in NZ
The Auckland-based Fiji Trade Commission hosted a successful three-day Fiji road show in New Zealand this month, with more than 200 potential investors present at the events in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland.
The Fiji Trade Commission was established last year with Peter Rudd as Manager Trade & Investment at its offices in downtown Auckland. The dedicated team at the fledgling organisation worked hard for the better part of its first year to host the road show, projecting Fiji as an attractive destination for investment, trade and for doing business.
It worked closely with the Fiji High Commission in Wellington coordinating the show with help from the New Zealand Fiji Business Council and local Business Chambers in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland.
“The response exceeded our expectations, the numbers were double of what we had expected,” Mr Rudd told Pacific Periscope. “This was our first foray into the regions, letting everyone know that there is indeed a Fiji Trade Commission on the ground here in Auckland.”
He said he was confident, “investment and trade will spin out of this roadshow.”
The Fiji Trade Commission invited Investment Fiji, the country’s trade and investment promotion agency and nodal entity for businesses interested in investing or trading in that country to present the latest facts and figures about the country, its economy and the incentives available to investors.
The Auckland show was held at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade conference room on Quay Street. Auckland Business Chamber CEO Michael Barnett welcomed the guests. Presentations from Investment Fiji, the New Zealand Fiji Business Council and a couple of case studies of success stories followed.
Two way trade between New Zealand and Fiji is about $1billion and growing. Mr said that the newly set up organisation had already facilitated $100 million worth of inward investment into Fiji from New Zealand. These were in the infrastructure, information & communication technology, engineering and tourism sectors.
Mr Rudd acknowledged Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand as also other Pacific organisations and stakeholders based in New Zealand for working closely with the Fiji Trade Commission. “It’s great working together with close allies on events,” he said.
Fiji is perceived as a stable nation and there were no questions about uncertainties, Mr Rudd said. New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has already visited the nation twice this year, which demonstrates that the relations between the two nations are in good shape.
The roadshow generated interest in the New Zealand Fiji Business Council, with nearly a dozen requests from across the country to join the council, Mr Rudd said.
Kamal Chetty, Investment Fiji’s Investment and Trade Manager said he was encouraged by the response to the roadshow. “There has been considerable interest in tourism, agribusiness, ICT, manufacturing and Fijian Kava,” he said after the Auckland roadshow.
Earlier Mr Chetty outlined some big-ticket projects available for external investments such as the $100million Holiday Inn project as well as projects for low cost housing and student accommodation, given Fiji’s growing numbers of regional students pursuing tertiary education at the nation’s three universities.
Having set itself the target of 100 per cent reliance on renewable sources of energy by 2030 – Fiji is President of COP 23 – Mr Chetty said there were considerable opportunities for projects in renewable energy generation. A biomass project was already in progress, he said.
Among many incentives offered including tax free zones in several areas of the country, Fiji offers a low corporate tax rate of 20 per cent – 10 per cent if the company is listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange.
Fiji is New Zealand’s largest trading partner in the Pacific Islands region and twentieth largest worldwide. Fiji’s economy is in its tenth continuous year of growth, with its GDP tracking to grow some 3.4 per cent. With a median workforce age of just 27, literacy of 94 per cent and good English language skills across the country, Fiji has achieved success as a business process outsourcing (BPO) hub in recent years.
Twenty eight per cent of its GDP comes from tourism, brought in by 900,000 tourists, almost equal to the country’s resident population. A third of its workforce is employed in tourism. Last week’s 3000-delegate Asian Development Conference has shown that the country has the capability to host large international events, Mr Rudd said. Tourism is growing between 3.3 and 3.5 per cent.
New Zealand Fiji Business Council Chair Chandar Sen said the 30-year-old council holds events every other month and an annual trade mission to Fiji, working closely with Fiji’s government ministries and business promotion agencies in both countries. PTI NZ is a member of the council’s board.
Fiji’s High Commissioner to New Zealand H E Filimone Waqabaca also addressed the Auckland roadshow in his humorous style appealing to investors to invest and do business with Fiji.