Fiji will be working closely with its Pacific island neighbours in trade and economic opportunities as the region moves towards a Free Trade Area by 2012. Forum island leaders agreed to this and Fiji Islands Trade and Investment Bureau chief executive Lailun Khan said Fiji must be fully aware of the rapidly changing international business environment.
"For developing countries like ours, pressures like that of the World Trade Organisation are magnified by our smallness," Mrs Khan said. "Despite our smallness and vulnerabilities we are expected to be competitive in how we are integrated into the world economy. It is for these and other reasons that FTIB adopted a Pacific Push strategy three years ago aimed at increasing the country’s exports to Pacific Island countries."
She said Fiji was Tahiti’s major trading partner in the Pacific, exporting $7.522million in 2002 and $10.82million worth of goods to Tahiti last year, including cement, processed food, clothes and textiles," she said. "Because of Tahiti’s limited productive capacity, Fiji-made products have the potential to do well in that market because of our proximity.
"Tahiti’s local productive capacity is small, hence it imports foodstuffs, electrical goods, industrial equipment, clothing and footwear and building materials," she said. "France remains the main supplier with 53 per cent of imports, followed by other EC countries and the United States with 11 per cent each."