Government of the Republic of Fiji
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service
REMARKS BY COMMODORE JOSAIA VOREQE BAINIMARAMAPRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF FIJIAT THE INDONESIA-PACIFIC UPDATE6TH APRIL 2011, JAKARTA, INDONESIA.
The Honorable Minister for Trade
Members of the Private Sector from Fiji, Indonesia and the Pacific
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Selamat Siang or Ni Sa Bula Vinaka as we say in Fijian.
It is indeed an honor and privilege for me to be here and to be given the opportunity to address you at this auspicious Indonesia-Pacific Update. Earlier this morning, we witnessed the modest ceremony marking the opening of the first ever Fiji Embassy in Jakarta, a milestone for Fiji in the history of our diplomatic relations with Indonesia.
In the same vein, this Indonesia-Pacific Update is historical and signifies the desire to bring the Pacific closer to Indonesia, and might I add, South East Asia, in where it matters most, our engine of growth - the private sectors of our nations.
I therefore would like to pay tribute to the Government of the Republic of Indonesia, in particular the Ministries for Foreign Affairs and for Trade/Commerce for the initiative and support of the working relationship that now exists between His Excellency Mr. Salim and his staff and the practitioners of the private sector of the Pacific under the umbrella of PIPSO or the Pacific Island Private Sector Organization.
As far as Fiji is concerned, our two countries have long been natural partners. We share a great many interests in the area of trade - in expanding opportunities and lowering barriers for trade and investment, and in promoting multilateral and regional economic cooperation. While we share so many interests, we also have so much to offer one another in building strategic business partnerships.
My Government views Indonesia, the largest country in Southeast Asia, as a strategic partner that can play an important role in our “Look North Policy”. I am positive that when dovetailed with Indonesia’s “Look East Policy”, our joint initiatives will collectively provide an opportunity to significantly enlarge our economic engagement with Indonesia and South East Asia and paving the way for integration with the global economy whilst helping to build a stable regional economic order that reaches out to the greater Pacific.
Indonesia is therefore important in Fiji’s foreign policy and strategic interests; she is well positioned within the broader context of Fiji’s Look North Policy which guides our interaction with our friends in the North, which I hope will soon include ASEAN too.
The opening of the new Fijian Embassy in Jakarta is therefore crucial for Fiji to continue building her bilateral, political and trade relations that hopefully will endure the test of time, the trickle-down effect of which being the benefit to the Pacific region given Fiji’s strategic location.
Together with the Papua New Guinea Mission that has long been established in Jakarta, there might just exist the spearhead necessary to continue to launch the Pacific region’s collective pursuit for the many and varied opportunities that this great country of Indonesia, let alone South East Asia, has to offer.
As my Government looks north for improved economic relations with Indonesia and other growing economies in South East Asia, I believe there will be many opportunities for our private sector members, some of them present here today, to establish networks and share technical information with their local counterparts which would assist them in mutual proportions improve on their products, operation of their businesses and securing a fair share of trade to each other.
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests.
My government works closely with both the public and private sector to carve out a mechanism that is pro-growth and serves to improve the lives of the people of Fiji.
My Government has continued the implementation of the National Export Strategy we term as the NES Programme with the private sector at the forefront to address the widening gaps between exports and imports and boost foreign exports earnings.
This program was formulated to boost investment in the export sectors specifically audio visual, agro-business, forestry, marine products and eco-manufacturing in particular mineral water – sectors.
These I am sure, will be of great interest to Indonesian businesses and I encourage you all to seriously consider forging relationships with Fiji businesses, through the Fiji Embassy here in Jakarta or directly with the Fiji Trade & Investment Bureau (FTIB), providing as a result a platform for a robust economic engagement.
Fiji has a wide range of lucrative incentives that we believe could attract the serious investor as we strive to sharpen our competitive edge and enhance our comparative advantage.
As Minister for Finance I also have the provision to formulate and implement the various incentive packages that the private sector largely enjoys and benefit from. I urge the local representatives who are here today to learn these from the representative of the FTIB present with us today as you contemplate expanding your reach to Fiji and the Pacific.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In concluding, may I say that today is historic, not only for Fiji, but for the Pacific as a whole where it matters most, in the development and growth of our respective private sectors for the benefits they ultimately entail on the people we serve.
Whilst it may sound trivial as an ‘update’, it certainly has formed the foundation for partnerships between Fiji, PIPSO and the Indonesian private sector. This augurs well for the future of, at least, the small economies of the Pacific region.
It is always a pleasure to see people from Fiji, Indonesia and around the world gathering to transact business. Trade and investment increase prosperity for everyone involved. In so doing, they create important shared interests that are the bedrock on which diplomacy builds.
The Fiji Mission therefore, stands ready to fan the flame that has been ignited today and to strengthen this relationship in whatever way it can within the bounds of our resources.
Finally, I want to express my appreciation to all of the companies participating in this event. While the bureaucrats and diplomats talk about ways to promote trade and investment, you are the ones who make it happen.
By fostering entrepreneurship, increasing trade and promoting investment, the companies participating in this event are helping to create jobs and increase opportunities for a lot of our workers.
You are also helping to raise living standards by offering consumers a wider choice of quality products at reasonable prices. I admire your entrepreneurial spirit and I wish you great success in your program here today.
I wish the Update today and the days ahead every success with the
fervent hope for a lasting and enduring bonds of friendship and
cooperation between Indonesia, Fiji and the countries of the Pacific.
Vinaka vakalevu, Terima kasih, and thank you all very much.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs P. O. Box 2220 Government Buildings Suva, Fiji