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Fiji And China Strengthen Ties, Ink Four MoUs

One of the MoU was the 50 million RMB (F$15.55 million) technical and development cooperation grant between the two countries.
22 Oct 2019 13:35
Fiji And China Strengthen Ties, Ink Four MoUs
From left: Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Premila Kumar, Tourism Authority of Kiribati chief executive officer Petero Manufolau, and Consul General and Trade Commissioner of Fiji to China, Yolanda Chan, during the 3rd China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum, Apia, Samoa. Photo: Maraia Vula

Four Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) were signed between Fiji and China in Apia, Samoa. This follows the side bilateral meetings as part of the 3rd China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum.

One of the MoU was the 50 million RMB (F$15.55 million) technical and development cooperation grant between the two countries.

More financial details are expected to be announced later.

About the MOUs:

  1. Cooperation in Infrastructure between the Ministry of Commerce (China) and the Ministry of Infrastructure (Fiji)
  2. Provision of Goods under South-South Cooperation for addressing Climate Change between the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (China) and Ministry of Infrastructure (Fiji).
  3. Strengthening Investment and Production Capacity Cooperation between the Ministry of Commerce (China) and Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism; and
  4. 2020-2022 Action Plan on Agriculture Cooperation (China- Pacific).

Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Premila Kumar said through these MoUs, they have agreed to explore new and exciting ways to cooperate.

Minister Kumar headed the Fijian delegation. She delivered Fiji’s speech on behalf of the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama.

She said due to other pressing commitments, Mr. Bainimarama was unable to attend the forum.

In attendance was Vice Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Hu Chunhua, who led the Chinese delegation at the Forum.

More than 400 delegates were in attendance along with business people.

Meanwhile, Mrs Kumar said they hoped to see holistic progress that spans across all sectors of the economy, including infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries, tourism, trade and investment.

“Trade flows between Fiji and China have been flourishing in recent years.

“Total two-way trade between Fiji and China reached an all-time high last year, amounting a little over one billion dollars.”

Tourism

Tourism is Fiji’s major foreign exchange earner.

In recent years, China has emerged as Fiji’s most rapidly growing market, with annual arrivals having grown from 28,333 visitors in 2014 to 49,271 visitors gin 2018, registering an increase of around 74 per cent.

Mrs Kumar said there remained broader room for improvement in the economic relationship.

She said: “Fiji continuously imports more than it exports to China, and there is an urgent need for bold, collective efforts to address this trade imbalance.

“We need good projects to be implemented in a timely manner, and mutually beneficial business deals that not only bring wealth to the companies but generate employment to our people with decent pay while taking into consideration the fragile state of our environment and ecosystems.”

Commitment

She thanked the Chinese Government for the opportunity to discuss and share Fiji’s challenges and aspirations at the forum.

“The commitment, support and interest showed by your great country towards the well-being of the Pacific is highly valued.

“This Programme of Action will serve as a guiding blueprint of our future cooperation centred on the strategic partnership of mutual respect and common development,” Mrs Kumar said.

As an outcome of this meeting, the China-Pacific Countries Programme of Actions on Economic and Development Cooperation was signed.
Edited by Ivamere Nataro

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