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The borders may be closed for travel to Fiji, but that hasn't doused the enthusiasm of investors keen to explore investment opportunities in the Pacific island nation.
More than 50 potential investors and interested parties gathered in South Auckland last week at a Fiji Investment Seminar organised by the Whanau Community Trust.
The key address for the session was led by the team at Auckland-based Pacific Trade Invest, an agency of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
Led by acting Trade Commissioner Glynis Miller, the PTI team outlined clearly how their organisation was best placed to help facilitate trade between the Pacific Islands and New Zealand.
“We have a wealth of knowledge of investment potential in the Pacific island countries, and various tools at hand which can put potential investors and traders on the right track,” Miller told the attendees.
“The key was not just looking at product capacity, but building product capability.”
As Miller pointed out, their trade website pacifichub.co.nz is the regional tender and investment portal investors needed to check out for potential opportunities in the region.
Opportunities include in the tourism, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food & beverage, clothes & footwear, organics, skincare & cosmetics, mining & natural resources, creative industries, manufactured good, and meat sectors.
A key member of the PTI team is Manuel Valdez, the chief investment officer, who is tasked with attracting more investments into the Pacific region and brokering deals at every phase of a commercial transaction.
One of the most successful of Valdez's projects has been the implementation of the “Return to Roots” project where those who have migrated to New Zealand from a Pacific island country can look at reinvesting.
Trade development managers Ian Furlong and Aude Douyere also told attendees how PTI was successfully able to help investors connect with their right products, and vice-versa.
While the PTI covers the whole Pacific region with offices in Auckland, Sydney, Beijing, Tokyo, and Geneva, this seminar focused on Fiji and the opportunities available there.
Fiji has for long been considered the hub of the South Pacific in terms of global shipping and air travel routes, and also global communications.
One area of concern raised by some attendees was the “ease of doing business” issue - still considered below par compared with New Zealand and Australia, but ahead of other Pacific nations.
But as Miller pointed out, the ease of doing business in Fiji was getting better.
Another guest speaker was former chair of the Fiji Trade and Investment Board Francis Narayan, who shared his experience of trade opportunities and hurdles in Fiji.
“One of the key factors is to look at the resources a country produces,” Narayan told attendees.
Narayan said that investors liked the fact that everyone in Fiji spoke good English, without the muddle of complicated accents, one of the key reasons behind Mind Pearl setting up in the country, employing 3000 people.
Seminar organiser and centre trustee Nik Naidu said he was pleased with the turnout and the enthusiasm of attendees keen to explore investment opportunities in Fiji.
“Great turnout, and I'm sure everyone went away with a wealth of knowledge about the opportunities in Fiji,” Naidu said.
SOURCE: STUFF NZ/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
Media Helping Media