The bilateral relations between Fiji and New Zealand is expected to soar to new heights with the historic visit of the New Zealand Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern to tomorrow.
The four-day visit is scheduled from Monday 24th February to Thursday 27th February, 2020. Prime Minister Ardern will pay a courtesy call on His Excellency, the President of Fiji, Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konusi Konrote and meet with the Hon. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on Tuesday next week.
Key topics of discussion between Fiji and New Zealand’s bilateral meeting are: 1) climate change in the Pacific; 2) improving the balance of trade; and 3) development co-operation.
During her visit, Prime Minister Ardern will deliver a speech at the University of the South Pacific (USP) and visit the RISE Informal settlement project in Tamavua-i-wai.
Another key feature of Prime Minister Ardern’s visit is her meeting with the Women MPs, Women in Business, Civil Society and Youth leaders. Prime Minister Ardern is expected to be part of the official opening programme of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre in the western division.
This much awaited visit by Prime Minister Ardern demonstrates the great friendship and partnership between Fiji and New Zealand across a wide spectrum of areas.
It will significantly strengthen the existing collaborations between the two nations at all levels through the ‘Pacific Reset’ program of the New Zealand Government.
The visit will also strengthen Fiji- NZ partnership on climate change actions, economic, social, cultural and political prosperity and sustainable development commitments.
Meanwhile, the total two-way trade between New Zealand and Fiji for the year ended 2018 was NZD$690 million. Fiji continues to be New Zealand’s largest trading partner in the Pacific. Total exports from Fiji to New Zealand for the year 2018 was NZD$100 million, whilst import stood at approximately NZD$590 million.
New Zealand has been one of Fiji’s top five import markets over the years.
The target is a two-billion dollar trade relationship that both sides are confident of achieving.
Additionally, New Zealand is Fiji’s second largest tourism source market with increases in arrivals from New Zealand reaching a record high in 2018. In 2018, Fiji received 198,718 Kiwis.
This was an increase of 7.7%, the highest number recorded in a given year. In the first seven months of this year, about 5% increase was recorded in visitor arrival from New Zealand compared to same period last year, this is equivalent to a total of 111,712 Kiwis visiting Fiji.