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Fiji Opens Arms To World's Audio Visual Industry

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FIJI OPENS ARMS TO WORLD'S AUDIO VISUAL INDUSTRY

To News Editors:

Sydney, 26 April 2000/ MediaNet International-AsiaNet/-- The Government of the Fiji Islands has opened its arms to the world Audio Visual community today announcing cabinet approval of legislation designed to establish the Fiji Islands as the best location in the world for production and distribution of film, television, music, computer software and e commerce.

The Prime Minister of Fiji Hon Mahendra P Chaudhry said: "This is our entry into the 21st century, an age of information technology. and this is a grand opportunity".

The tax legislation to pass through parliament in the next few weeks will provide for the following incentives:

Between 100% to 150% tax deduction for capital investment in Audio Visual projects depending on local content and participation.

A Studio City Zone offering tax free operating status for companies involved in Audio Visual production and distribution and tax free status for audio visual income of individuals in the Audio Visual Industry (including sports men and sports women) and who take up residence in the studio city zone.

In order to facilitate the international industry and to accelerate the development of the local industry the Fiji Government has also established the Fiji Audio Visual Commission.

This new legislation - which will pass through parliament in May - follows closely the new world class copyright legislation passed and enacted earlier this year. The legislation allows Fiji to participate in world copyright conventions. The Government also announced that, as of 1 July 2000, anti piracy provisions will be actively pursued in Fiji. A business consortium led by Mr Philip Gerlach, Mr Lyndon Driscoll and Mr Frank Yourn, who combine extensive experience in Fiji with the entertainment, computer and IT industries, has worked closely with the Fiji Government through a Government Task Force chaired by Mr Jesoni Vitusagavulu, Chief Executive of the Fiji Trade and Investment Board, to establish the industry in Fiji.

A Fiji company, Paradise Entertainment Limited, has been formed by the consortium for the development of the Studio City and has been granted a foreign investment licence as the Studio City Company to manage, develop and promote the City and the Audio Visual Industry in Fiji.

The Chairman of Paradise Entertainment Limited, Mr Philip Gerlach, said the company was excited about the role it will play in the development of Fiji's new world class audio visual industry.

Paradise Entertainment Limited will shortly start work to develop the Studio City at Yaqara in the north of the Main Island of Fiji, Viti Levu., and is now promoting Fiji to the global audio visual industry as the world's best location for production and distribution.

Mr Gerlach said the consortium working with Paradise Entertainment on the development of the Studio City included the internationally renowned engineering and project management company Kinhills Brown and Root, which had been involved in the development of film and television studios in Australia, and the architectural firm Dickson Rothschild as design architects.

Local Fiji property businessman Mr Keni Dakuidreketi of Rolle Hillier Parker Suva has been appointed a Director of the company.

Paradise Entertainment also announced the private placement of initial venture capital this week.

Paradise Entertainment Limited has an agreement in principle with Telecom Fiji for a joint venture for the provision of internet and telecommunication services and infrastructure to the Studio City Zone.

The infrastructure will be supported by the Southern Cross optic fibre cable linking the west coast of USA with the east coast of Australia and passing through Fiji, giving Fiji the communications capacity to participate in global information transfers.

Mr Gerlach said the financial package the Fiji Government had put in place for the development of the industry represented the best package available anywhere in the world today in terms of the level of incentives available and the scope of industries included in the definition of audio-visual industry.

He commended the Fiji Government for its foresight and innovation in breaking new ground and including within the definition of industries eligible for the financial incentives package e-commerce companies, computer software development companies, music recording and audio mixing studios, as well as the film and television production and distribution industries.

The taxation incentives available to the e-commerce companies, computer software development companies, and music recording and audio mixing studios are unique, he explained.

Mr Gerlach said the provision in the package for high net worth individuals in the audio visual industries and international sportsmen and women to live in Fiji free of income tax meant that Fiji would become the Bahamas of the Asia Pacific region.

Paradise Entertainment Limited intends to list initially on the Suva Stock Exchange later in the year, providing opportunities for the people of Fiji and Asia Pacific to invest in this exciting industry.

An international web site www.fijiaudiovisual.com has been developed for registration of interest and to provide further information.

ENDS


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