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More Formal Trade says Ali

The Ministry of Industry and Trade says a more formal trade arrangement between Fiji and New Caledonia should be introduced to facilitate trade between the two nations.

Ministry Permanent Secretary Shaheen Ali said: “This arrangement could be either on bilateral basis or could make use of the existing regional mechanism, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).”

He was addressing registered businesses for the inaugural Trade & Invesment Mission to New Caledonia during a New Caledonia Awareness Briefing yesterday. It was held at the Attorney-General’s Conference Room on Victoria Parade.

Fiji’s trade with New Caledonia only represented less than one per cent when compared to the other Pacific Island Countries, he noted.

Mr Ali said there was an array of avenues in particular with the Fijian-made products available.

“There is potential for the Fijian-made products to penetrate into the New Caledonia market,” Mr Ali said.

“These include food and food products, household items, garments – ready and safety, hardware and building materials and automobiles – buses.

Trade goal

“Our goal is to find ways that New Caledonia and Fiji can make the most of our comparative advantages.”

He said there was potential for a win-win situation for both countries hence the need to introduce a formal trade arrangement was imperative.

The businesses were provided with a comprehensive introduction to doing business with New Caledonia by New Caledonia Economic Development Agency senior investment officer, Alain Wee.

French Ambassador Gilles Montagnier said: “I am convinced that Fiji is the natural partner of New Caledonia in the region, particularly on the economic front. Your country is the hub of the South Pacific, its economy is diversified – and your presence here is evidence of this- and there are many other similarities.”

The ambassador also highlighted the economic and institutional situation at the French territory as well as highlighted some notable deals between France and Fiji already in place.

The date for the mission is yet to be confirmed. However the ministry says it will be a high level Government-led mission with 20 businesses already registered.

(Source: Fiji Sun)