Bainimarama opens new diplomatic Chapter with Australia

New Consulate and Trade Commission office inaugurated in Sydney

Venkat Raman

Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama has said that it was time to leave behind the past differences with Australia and move forward, concerting efforts to increase mutually rewarding bilateral trade and friendly relations.

Long Journey with ties

Stating that the relationship between Fiji and Australia dates back to the ‘start of our independent history and long before,” Mr Bainimarama attributed the resurgence of relationship between the two countries to ‘friendship and affinity shared between the peoples of the two countries.’

“I was honoured to call former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull my friend, and I look forward to forming a close relationship with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to continue to strengthen our bilateral partnership on the basis of fairness and mutual respect,” he said.

Consulate and Trade Commission Opened

Mr Bainimarama was speaking at the official inauguration of the Office of Consulate General and Trade Commissioner in Sydney on Friday, October 19.

He said that the prospects of enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries had reached a new level.

The Trade Commission will also be responsible for New Zealand, another country with which Fiji sees great potential for engagement.

Focus of Engagement

Mr Bainimarama said that the opening of the Consulate and Trade Commission and the high-level Government Mission that he led in 2016 dedicated to growing bilateral trade and investment were a part of the economic focus of Fiji’s diplomatic engagement with the Australian government.

Impressive growth

“So far, our journey forward has led us to record flows of tourism, trade and investment between our countries. Fiji remains a favoured destination for Aussie tourists, with tourism earnings from the Australian market achieving a historic high last year of nearly F$ 1 billion. Our two-way trade is steadily on the rise, as the Fijian economy has soared to a record nine straight years of economic growth, and confidence in Fiji is sky-high, as seen in the nearly F$ 500 million worth of Australian investment into our country last year,” he said.

Rise in Exports

Mr Bainimarama said that Fiji’s exports to Australia rose by 4% last year and that new Fijian products and businesses are expanding throughout the region.

“We have some very ambitious Fijians, at every age, putting forward ideas and launching more businesses every year, and it is the duty of this office to give those entrepreneurs the confidence and the opportunity to get their products on shelves here in lucrative markets in Sydney and all across Australia,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama said that Zarak Khan, Consul General and Trade Commissioner to Australia and Fiji will ‘continue to be an invaluable information resource to the more than 370,000 Australians who visit Fiji every year, and offer Consular services to 100,000 Fijians living in Australia, a majority of them based in New South Wales.

Success story for the world

“We have a story in Fiji that the world wants to hear; a modern, dynamic economy in the throes of rapid economic growth and infrastructure development. A Nation that is investing heavily in the education of its citizens, and fielding a highly competitive, English-speaking workforce. A Nation that enjoys stability, security and unity among its people. And a nation eager for new investment, new industry and new opportunity,” he said.

Among those who attended the Opening Ceremony were Industry Trade & Tourism, Lands & Mineral Resources Minister Faiyaz Koya; Fiji’s High Commissioner to Australia, Luke Daunivalu; Fiji Consul General & Trade Commissioner Zarak Khan; Fiji Day Committee President Allan Gock; Australia Fiji Business Council President Geoff Shaw and Australia Fiji Business Council Executive Director Frank Yourn.


(Pictures Supplied by Fijian Government)

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