Sydney, Australia – The 27th Australia Fiji Business Forum, held from August 30 to September 1, 2023, at the InterContinental Sydney Hotel, has successfully concluded, reaffirming the robust economic partnership between Australia and Fiji. This annual event, attended by elite corporate representatives from both nations and distinguished guests from the Fiji Government, provided a platform for open and constructive discussions on trade and investment opportunities.
The forum was officially opened with a prestigious cocktail and dinner evening attended by key figures from Fiji, including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Cooperatives, MSMEs, and Communications Honourable Manoa Kamikamica, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Honourable Viliame Gavoka, and Minister for Employment, Productivity, and Industrial Relations Mr Agni Deo Singh. These esteemed dignitaries also delivered insightful speeches during the event.
This year’s forum centred around the theme, “The New Fiji: Reopen for Business,” emphasizing Fiji’s need for sustainable economic growth, particularly in its thriving tourism industry.
During the forum, the Chief Executive Officer of the Australia India Institute and former Tasmanian senator, Lisa Singh, underscored the importance of cooperation between Fiji and Australia. She highlighted the two nations’ shared challenges, particularly in addressing climate vulnerabilities.
The two-day event featured enlightening presentations and discussions on critical topics, including outsourcing, investment prospects, tax incentives, telecommunications, renewable energy, women in business, and agriculture. It provided valuable insights into Fiji’s trade and economic landscape while reinforcing the enduring bilateral relationship between the two nations.
On the forum’s sidelines, Minister Kamikamica visited Telstra facilities, exploring the potential arising from Telstra’s acquisition of Digicel for Fijian businesses. Additionally, a visit to UNSW Research Facilities aimed to support Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and foster research partnerships. The Deputy Prime Minister also held a bilateral meeting with Australia’s Assistant Minister for Trade and Manufacturing, Senator the Hon Tim Ayres, discussing important aspects of the trade and investment relationship between Fiji and Australia and areas for further collaboration and coordination moving forward.
The forum also highlighted increased exports and market access for Fiji products in Australia, particularly the commercial importation of kava. Since December 2021, Fiji has exported over 50 tonnes of kava powder to Australia, showcasing growing opportunities in this sector.
Minister Kamikamica encouraged Australian businesses to invest in Fiji, emphasizing potential areas like manufacturing, ICT, renewable energy, outsourcing, film production, agriculture, mining, tourism, and emerging sectors such as medicinal cannabis and nutraceutical drugs. The Fijian government is committed to removing investment barriers and welcomes former Fiji-born citizens with other passports to invest in Fiji.
Investment Fiji encouraged investments in housing and medicine to uplift Fiji and strengthen bilateral relations between Fiji and Australia. Fiji Revenue and Customs Services highlighted tax benefits and incentives for various projects, further fostering business growth.
Australian Minister of Communications Ms Michelle Rowland stressed the importance of balancing technological connectivity with cybersecurity measures. She highlighted the need for reliable internet to run successful businesses, especially in remote areas, and expressed the importance of collective efforts.
Employment Minister Agni Deo Singh acknowledged the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme as a mutually beneficial arrangement, offering employment opportunities for Fijian citizens and boosting remittances.
The 27th Australia Fiji Business Forum concluded on September 1, 2023, fulfilling its purpose of facilitating open discussions and strengthening trade and corporate ties between the two nations. The event received immediate support for various initiatives and investment opportunities, reinforcing the theme, “The New Fiji: Reopen for Business.”
About the Australia Fiji Business Forum
The Australia Fiji Business Forum is an annual event that fosters economic ties and collaboration between Australia and Fiji. Established in 1987, it has become a vital platform for discussing trade and investment opportunities, strengthening bilateral relations, and supporting business growth in both nations.