Suva, Fiji (August 3, 2017)- China’s trade and investment with the Forum Island Countries has demonstrated relatively consistent growth over the last few years. The last five years have seen a significant rise in Chinese tourists visiting Forum Members Countries; and increase in bilateral trade and investments between China and Forum Member Countries.
But Forum Members are yet to fully leverage Asia’s economic growth, and the opportunities it provides for the development of sustainable trade, and investment outcomes. Also, bilateral trade and investments between China and Forum Island Countries is not evenly distributed among Forum Members. The resource poor countries (especially Smaller Island States) remain at the top end of their bilateral trade and investment gains pyramid, with China. In April 2017, Forum Economic Ministers acknowledged that strong linkages with the Asian region would unlock significant opportunities to support economic prosperity in Forum Member Countries.
Capitalising on the Ministers’ observation, the Forum Secretariat (through the Pacific Trade & Invest Office in Beijing) has initiated practical steps to strengthen interaction between Forum Member States and China in particular. On 28 July 2017, the Forum Secretariat signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). PIFS Director of Economic Governance, Mr Shiu Raj, remarked that “the MOU between PIFS and CCPIT starts a new era of cooperation in a wide range of areas, including trade and investment promotion.
The Forum Secretariat is excited about the opportunities the CCPIT-PIFS MOU offers and looks forward to promising outcomes, which will support economic development through creation of new jobs and supporting industry development opportunities in the Pacific Island Countries.
In addition, on 28 July 2017, in partnership with the CCPIT, the Forum Secretariat facilitated a briefing conference on Beijing Horticulture Expo 2019. At the conference, Ambassador Zhang, Peoples Republic of China Ambassador to Fiji, recalled with appreciation the April 2017 Forum Economic Ministers’ call for strengthened interactions between Forum Member Countries and China in particular; and the visit of Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor to China. The Beijing Expo 2019 presents a window of opportunity to realise Forum Economic Ministers’ quest. In his remarks, the Ambassador remarked that “Beijing Expo 2019 will be a big platform for Forum Members to raise their profile in the world and share their story of unremitting efforts to combat climate change impact by preserving ecological environment and pursuing sustainable development goals through green growth.”
At the briefing conference, Mr Wang Jinzhen, Vice person of CCPIT invited Forum Member Countries to participate in the expo, and detailed the suite of technical and financial assistance THE CCPIT will provide to Forum Members.
The Forum Secretariat will consult its Member States and other relevant regional agencies regarding CCPIT’s offer.
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