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Australia will quickly include Fiji: Feakes


May 24, 2020 08:03:22 PM

Australia will quickly include Fiji: Feakes Australia's High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes says once the work is done to open up the Trans-Tasman bubble, they will look very quickly at including Fiji.

He said Australia is mindful of the impact on the tourism sector and business in general and certainly with the Fijian Government working towards improving the ‘Ease of Doing Business’, they need to start on business activity within Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

Feakes met with Investment Fiji chief executive Craig Strong and board chair Jenny Seeto yesterday to discuss potential trans-Tasman bubble, collaboration on training for staff, market access and connecting with businesses.

Strong discussed on how Investment Fiji is working with Trade Offices and Embassies in sharing information and strategizing on ways to assist exporters and investors.

“With a Strategic reset for Investment Fiji, our priority is connecting with our key trading partners. We’ve had discussions with key representatives from the Australian counterparts on advancing trade and investment by focusing on a prescriptive approach to trade and investment in key markets."

Strong and Seeto also had a virtual meeting with Frank Yourn, the Executive Director of the Australia Fiji Business Council and Alison Haworth West, President of the Australia Fiji Business Council.

The council executives underlined priority areas to assist businesses and collaborate on webinars and virtual events for capacity building and to kick start on business engagements.

Strong agreed to initiate a series of events in partnership with the Australian High Commission and business councils to promote trade and investment between Australia and the Pacific.

“We are planning to involve key government and business representatives for a virtual seminar on Australia Fiji Investment update. The idea is to not wait for the ‘Bubble” but commence on back-end planning to identify on prospective targeted opportunities for both countries.”

Meanwhile the Australia-Fiji relationship was taken to a new level of commitment last week as the Australian Government provided the Fijian government FJD18 million of direct funding in response to the impacts of COVID-19.

This commitment is a first of its kind under the Vuvale-Partnership, as it includes direct budget support to assist the Fiji in responding to the economic impact of the global pandemic.

By Reginald Chandar

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