Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Professor Biman Prasad says visa-free travel for Fijians into New Zealand needs to happen to realise the full benefits of the trade relationship between the two countries.
Speaking to over 200 members of the business community at the New Zealand-Fiji Annual Business Conference in Auckland, yesterday, he said visa-free travel is an essential part of dealing with trade imbalances and labour shortage issues.
“New Zealand is Fiji’s 4th largest export market absorbing over $F100 million of exports annually.”
“Fiji stands as New Zealand’s 20th largest trading partner absorbing approximately $US350 of your exports – I think it is fair to say we are underperforming,” he said.
Describing the need to create a ‘limitless scope’ in the relationship between the two nations, Prof Prasad said Fiji had the ambition to become a top ten partner in trade for New Zealand.
“Building a relationship of limitless scope means that Fijians and New Zealanders should be able to travel and work in each other’s countries without restrictions. A full visa-free regime between our countries will be the start of a new chapter.”