FIJI TIME: Bid to build ties Release date:2018-03-07

YEAR 2017 marked a fruitful year for the bilateral economic and trade cooperation between China and Fiji bringing tangible benefits to the people.

And according to the Chinese Embassy in Fiji's economic and commercial counsellor Li Zhi, this showed the solid foundation of the future co-operation between the two countries with great potential and broad prospects.

Speaking at the Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) business forum in the Jet Set town last week, Ms Li said the bilateral trade had reached $US386 million ($F780.49m).

"The year of 2017 marks a fruitful year for the bilateral economic and trade co-operation between China and Fiji," she said.

"In May, Prime Minister Binimarama attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, and had a very successful meeting with President Xi Jinping, injecting new impetus to the strategic partnership of mutual respect and common development between China and Fiji.

China is a major source of foreign investment to Fiji and some Chinese projects, such as Nalagi Hotel. When completes, Nalagi hotel would promote the Fiji’s economic development.

Ms Li also highlighted the number of Chinese tourists visiting Fiji last year reached 48,796, making it China maintains the fourth largest tourist source country of Fiji.

She also raised the need to further strengthen this economic and trade cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative to benefit more people both in China and Fiji.

"The cake of China's economy is getting bigger and bigger with various economic indicators healthy and positive in an all-round way.

"By 2020, China endeavors to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. By 2035, China will basically build into a modernised country. By 2049, China will fully achieve modernisation.

"The Chinese dream is becoming a reality. We are willing to connect Chinese dream with the dreams of other countries."

Such avenues to bolster this co-operation are through the China International Import Expo (CIIE), which will be held from 2018 onwards.

Ms Li said CIIE was a significant move of the Chinese government towards a new opening-up campaign of higher calibre, and a major step towards opening the Chinese market to the world.

"The first CIIE will be held in Shanghai this November, attracting tens of thousands of professional buyers from around 100 countries and regions," she said.

"The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Fiji has already confirmed to participate in the country pavilion part of CIIE. I hope Fijian enterprises could take an active part in the enterprise and business exhibition of CIIE to seize the good opportunity to enter the 1.3 billion population Chinese market."

Ms Li said the embassy would continue to encourage and support Chinese enterprises to work closely with Nadi enterprises to build a better Nadi, particularly through an MOU signed with the NCCI and the China Chamber of Commerce in Fiji.