Eventful mission on eve of NZ-Fiji Business Council’s 30th anniversary

The New Zealand Fiji Business Council’s (NZFBC) business mission to Fiji last month had a special significance, says the council’s Chairman Chandar Sen.

Mission participants at a meeting in Fiji.

For one, it came in the run up to the council’s thirtieth anniversary which will be celebrated in Auckland on June 15. The mission was in the week of May 15.

It also happened to be the “third mission in a row,” according to Mr Sen. The first of these missions was jointly organised by Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) NZ, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE), the Fiji High Commission in New Zealand and the council though this most recent one was solely under the aegis of the council. Three successive missions underscore the rapidly growing trade and investment relationship between New Zealand and Fiji, Mr Sen added.

Fiji is New Zealand’s largest trading partner in the Pacific. Two-way trade is growing, with trade-in-goods totalling more than NZ$518 million last year.  If trade-in-services, tourism, investment and remittance flows are added to the mix, this dynamic economic relationship adds up to NZ$1 billion.

Twelve New Zealand companies drawn from such diverse sectors as engineering services, consulting engineers, training, construction and manufacturing materials supplies, shipping, aluminium products, legal services and energy were part of the delegation.

The delegation poses for a group picture.

A PTI team, coincidentally in Fiji at the same time to conduct two Pacific Path to Market workshops, joined some of the delegation’s official engagements. “Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade and his team joined us toward the latter part of the mission,” Mr Sen said.

The mission included both investors and businesses that are looking to deliver products and services in Fiji. “The businesses offer services that are not available in Fiji or due to the level of activity in Fiji, for which there is a shortage. Investors were looking across a number of sectors,” Mr Sen said.

The highlight of the mission was that one of the council’s member companies, Aquaheat, launched its Fiji branch, Mr Sen said. “This journey started about two years ago when Ajay Anand, CEO of the parent company, Horizon Energy, went to Fiji with the business mission. Aquaheat acquired the Fiji business of Airpro,” Mr Sen said.

PTI Head of Investment and Chief Operating Officer Manuel Valdez said, “PTI successfully worked with this New Zealand company in establishing its office in Fiji.”

Mark Ramsden, High Commissioner of NZ to Fiji speaks at the reception.

The mission was formally opened by Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and the welcome address delivered by New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Fiji Mark Ramsden. Mr Ramsden said this momentum needed to be carried forth with such missions every year.

Mr Ramsden hosted the mission for a networking cocktail at NZ House. “This was his last hosting session as his term in Fiji comes to an end soon,” Mr Sen said. “They assembled a very wide spectrum of businesses for this session – which meant an excellent networking session. At this same event one of the members of our sister council. And many members could meet [rugby star] Aaron Cruden in person and take photos and selfies.”

The council will celebrate its thirtieth anniversary on the June 15 in Auckland along with its reciprocal Fiji New Zealand Business Council.

For more information, please email PTI Investment Manager and COO Manuel Valdez at manuel.v@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz

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