The New Zealand Fiji Business Council (NZFBC) will embark on a business mission to Fiji next month between May 15 and 19. This year’s mission builds on the success of last year’s mission, according to NZFBC Chairman Chandar Sen .Replying to questions from Pacific Periscope about the forthcoming business mission, Mr Sen said, “This year the programme has several new speakers from organisations that deal with trade, investment and business including the Fijian Companies Office, which is important because the Fijian Companies Act has undergone a major overhaul and appears more in line with New Zealand’s Act.”
Mr Sen said it would be interesting to hear from a wide range of organisations including local government agencies like the Suva City Council on business registration processes. The iTaukei Land Trust Board would cover the growing opportunities for investors putting to use the abundant land that is available under its aegis.
“In addition, we will be hearing from government agencies like the Reserve Bank of Fiji; Investment Fiji, the nodal agency for inward investment; the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FIRCA) and the Immigration Department. We are also planning a courtesy visit to the President of Fiji.”
Mr Sen said the business and investment environment was rapidly changing in Fiji. “We also want to raise the awareness to members of the now transformed Fijian economy – one that was based on agriculture to one that is now growing in the services sector including ICT and tourism. We are planning to add speakers from these sectors as well,” he added.
The registration for participating in the mission closes on April 13, “But we already have a minimum ten that are required,” Mr Sen said. Participants so far comprise a cross section of members. The NZFBC has a wide spectrum of membership from SMEs and New Zealand’s largest listed companies to multinationals listed on the New York Stock Exchange, according to Mr Sen.
“They cover a range of industries from agriculture to tourism to construction to education. We pretty much cover the range.”
Last year’s mission had nearly 30 participants. Drawing similarities from last year’s mission Mr Sen said, “Like last year, we will have alongside us Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) NZ Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade and his team.”
Though the PTI team will be part of the business delegation, it will be delivering the Pacific Path to Market programme to Fijian exporters and export ready companies in association with the Fiji Export Council as a separate exercise, not as part of the business mission. The PTI workshop is being held on Friday May 19 at the Tanoa Hotel in Suva, which incidentally, is a member of the NZFBC. A similar workshop will be hosted in Nadi the previous day. More about the workshops will be covered in the next edition of Pacific Periscope.
The mission’s schedule will include several business-to-business meetings, which the Council is working with Investment Fiji, according to Mr Sen. Members will also making their own arrangements for meetings with businesses of their choice as well.
“We will be hosted by the Chiefs rugby team for a networking cocktail – the Chiefs believe a number of their sponsors are looking to develop and grow business in Fiji and hence looking to join the NZFBC. Some Chiefs sponsors are already NZFBC members,” Mr Sen said. Members of the mission will also watch the Chiefs vs Crusaders rugby match as well as attend another networking cocktail hosted by the New Zealand High Commission in Fiji.
Speaking on the outcomes that the Council was hoping to achieve, Mr Sen said, “We’d like businesses to make investment decisions, make business connections, explore joint ventures and other joint opportunities.”
Referring to last year’s mission, Mr Sen said that one member who joined the NZFBC mission to get a Fiji distributor for his New Zealand manufactured products, has already set up an office and begun operations in Fiji. It is this kind of outcomes that the mission hopes to achieve, Mr Sen said.
We want to acknowledge the inputs we have and are receiving from the Fijian High Commissioner to New Zealand Filimone Waqabaca and the team at Investment Fiji – who are doing all the local arrangements for us.
Fiji is New Zealand’s largest Pacific Island trading partner. New Zealand goods imports from Fiji amounted to NZ$55.12 million in December 2015, a 6.7 per cent increase over the previous 12-month period. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s exports to Fiji for the same period increased 13.26 per cent from the previous year to NZ$417 million. This year, exports to Fiji from New Zealand increased to $37 million for the month of February from $32 million in January of 2017.
For more information, please email PTI Trade Development Manager Ian Furlong at email@example.com