Support for the Fiji Rugby 7s Team – Tokyo Sevens 2015

The Vodafone Fiji 7s Team picked up where they left off after triumphing in Hong Kong last weekend, 28-29 March 2015 and Las Vegas on 13-15 February 2015 by easing past Wales 19-10 and trouncing Hong Kong 35-14 in Pool A at the Prince Chichibu stadium in Tokyo on Saturday, 4 April 2015.

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HE Mataitoga with Team Manager, Mr Paula Biu and Medical Coordinator, Mr William Koong

Support for the Fiji Team was strong right from the day of their arrival in Tokyo with the Fiji Embassy keeping a close contact with them to render any assistance that they require. Staff and family members of the Fiji Embassy in Tokyo together with the Fijian community in Japan joined hands to rally their full support and cheer for Coach Ben Ryan and his players on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th April 2015. Despite coming third in the Tokyo 7s Cup final, Fiji remains a distant second on the IRB World Series table.

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There was also enormous support from Fiji friends who have been following the HSBC Sevens World Series Fiji team in their recent excursion, with their vocal chants and cheers sending a strong message to the Fiji Team on the field.

As a token of appreciation to our team, the Fiji Embassy in Tokyo hosted the Fiji Sevens Rugby Team and officials to a dinner reception on Sunday 5 April 2015. The function was attended by the Fiji Embassy Staff and families, including Fiji community and Fiji friends. About 80 attended the dinner reception.

HE Mataitoga bid farewell to our sevens gladiators and also thanked everyone who attended the function which was a sign of our support for the Fiji National Team. The team departed Tokyo for Fiji on Monday 6 April 2015.

It was noted that the top four teams in the Sevens World Series automatically secure a place in Rio, where sevens rugby will make its Olympic debut. Tokyo was the seventh leg of the nine-stage circuit, which ends in London next month. South Africa (129 points), Fiji (125) and New Zealand (120) look set to claim the top three spots.

 

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Fiji’s Undertakings at the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan 14-18 March, 2015

 

MFA & part of Fiji Delegation at Main Hall

Minister Kubuabola and part of Fiji Delegation at Main Hall

The 3RD UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction was held in Sendai, Japan     from   the 13th-18th March 2015. The Honourable Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Minister for Foreign Affairs led the Fiji Delegation which comprised staff of the Fiji Embassy Tokyo (FET), PRUNOG, and MFA. The other 9 members were represents of Fiji’s municipal institution, academia (USP), Disability community (Fiji Blind Society), Bureau of Statistics, Media, and Women’s group, most of whom attended to their respective Working Sessions as panellists/presenters. The Minister upon his arrival from Morocco delivered Fiji’s Statement on Tuesday, 17 March. The impending disasters of Tropical Cyclone Pam resulted in the cancellation of the attendance of the Minister responsible for National Disaster Management, Hon. Seruiratu and Director NDMO. Diplomats from the Fiji Embassy Tokyo and PRUN Office Geneva attended to the relevant Working Sessions including the three registered Ministerial Roundtables themed International Cooperation in support of a post-2015 framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR); Governing Disaster Risk: Overcoming Challenges; and Public Investment Strategies for DRR. Negotiation and finalisation of the Sendai Framework Document was a core throughput. Logistics and Protocol services prior and during the Conference were rendered by FET.

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Minister Kubuabola Delivering Fiji’s DRR Statement

Ten years after the Hyogo Framework for Action, disasters continue to undermine efforts to achieve sustainable development. “The Heads of States and Governments, Ministers and delegations at the 3rd WCDRR in recognizing the increasing impact of disasters and their complexity in many parts of the world, declared their determination to enhance efforts to strengthen disaster risk reduction to reduce disaster to losses of lives and assets worldwide. Building on the Hyogo Framework, the present Sendai Framework aims to achieve the following outcomes over the next 15 years (2015-2030):“the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.” States declared that the realisation of this outcome requires strong commitment and involvement of political leadership in every country at all levels in the implementation and follow-up of this framework and in the creation of the necessary conducive and enabling environment. To attain the expected outcome, States consented that the following goal must be pursued: “Prevent new and reduce existing disaster risk through the implementation of integrated and inclusive economic, structural, legal, social, health, cultural, educational, environmental, technological, political and institutional measures that prevent and reduce hazard exposure and vulnerability to disaster, increase preparedness for response and recovery, and thus strengthen resilience.” “The pursuance of this goal requires the enhancement of the implementation capacity and capability of developing countries, in particular the least developed countries, small island developing States, landlocked developing countries and African countries, as well as middle-income countries facing specific challenges, including the mobilisation of support through international cooperation for the provision of means of implementation in accordance with their national priorities.”

At the Conference, States also pronounced their respective messages of sympathies and condolences to the people of Vanuatu and neighbouring countries that fell victims of Tropical Cyclone Pam.

Bilateral Meeting between Minister Kubuabola and Minister Kishida

Minister Kubuabola & Minister Kishida March 2015

In closing Minister Kubuabola presented gift to Minister Kishida .

In the margins of the Conference, various meetings and activities were organised which encompassed a bilateral meeting between Minister Kubuabola and his Japanese counterpart, Minister Kishida which was held on Sunday, 15th March 2015. The discussions centered on bilateral concerns and initiatives to lift and deepen the two countries relation and cooperation. A priority issue discussed is the proposed visit of the Fiji’s Prime Minister Hon J.V. Bainimarama to Japan in May 2015 and his meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister the Hon. Mr. Shinzo Abe. Both Ministers agreed that this proposed meeting, would be a major boost in lifting Fiji/Japan relations to higher level than before.  Minister Kishida commented during the meeting the importance of Fiji to Japan in terms of its relations with the Pacific Island Countries and it would like Fiji/Japan relations to be restored to new level. In the context of PALM 7 that Japan will be hosting in May 2015, they see Fiji as one of the leader countries in ensuring its success.

Japan would like to diversify its relation with Fiji to include cooperation in the United Nations and international for a generally. There were several specific requests pertaining to Japan candidature in UN bodies and cooperation in sustainable development of marine areas.

Prospective areas of bilateral cooperation discussed encompassed; market access for Fijian-made products into the Japanese market; joint promotions for Fiji/Japan business exchange and investment opportunities for Japanese Small Medium Enterprises [SME] underscoring agriculture, horticulture and agri-tourism products using Japanese knowhow and technologies. Discussions also centered on public diplomacy in terms of Visa reciprocal arrangement and parliamentary Study Visits.

Bilateral Meeting between Minister Kubuabola and Minister Anthony of New Caledonia

Minister Kubuabola & Minister Anthony

Minister Kubuabola and Minister Anthony of New Caledonia in closing.

A second bilateral meeting was held between Minister Kubuabola and New Caledonia’s Minister in Charge of Sustainable Development, Hon. Lecren Anthony which was requested by the latter. Discussion centred on Oceania 21 Climate Change submission to the COP 21 in Paris. Hon. Anthony stated his intention to collaborate with Fiji in the preparation of this submission and also within the PIDF frame. He thus expressed New Caledonia’s high level representation at the next PIDF Summit in August this year.

Hon. Kubuabola welcomed New Caledonia’s support for the PIDF and informed that the next Summit will be held on 12-14 August in Denarau Nadi. He assured Fiji’s support on the Oceania 21 proposal in terms of the COP 21.

Hon. Anthony shared his experience working with Fiji as regard the One Tree One Life scheme and mentioned that through this scheme he realised that Fiji is involved in networks that New Caledonia cannot access. He further informed that he has held meetings with USA, IMF and UAE in this regard. The Oceania 21 Summit to be held on 28-30th April hosted by New Caledonia was noted and the Hon. Kubuabola expressed Fiji’s possible participation subject to invitation, which thus would provide ideal platform for both countries to collaborate effectively on the Oceania 21 proposal. Hon. Anthony assured of sending an invitation for the Summit and indicative timeline. The Pacific Islands Roundtable briefing for COP 21 organised by SPREP to be held in May 2015 was also informed. Hon. Anthony mentioned that he intends to visit Fiji in April or May to discuss these issues further. Hon. Kubuabola welcomed the initiative and advised that in between time, senior officials of Hon. Anthony’s Office and Fiji’s MFA to constantly collaborate prior to the Minister’s visit to Fiji.

Consultations with Tohoku University, Japan

Minister Kubuabola with Dr. Susumu

Minister Kubuabola with Dr. Susumu

A meeting between Minister Kubuabola and Dr. Susumu Satomi, President of Tohoku University was also convened on Monday, 16th March. The Honourable Ratu Inoke Kubuabola MP held consultations with the President of Tohoku University Dr. Susumu Satomi on Monday, 16 March 2015, to explore establishment of close relations with the Fiji Government and the Fiji National University (FNU). University/University Staff & Students Exchange and Development of Joint Academic and Professional Expertise at Tohoku University which could be followed up by the Embassy were a few to mention.

Dr Susumu expressed his appreciation towards the Minister`s visit and elaborated on the studies undertaken by Fiji nationals currently enrolled in the University. He added that through the Japanese Government and Local government, the University is currently undertaking projects on treatment of disaster waste management, further noting on Mr Savou`s thesis, which is based on recovery  and making energy from waste bagasse. Life Science, Engineering and Environmental Studies were a few fields of studies which the President advised that TU could probably collaborate on with FNU. The Minister in response thanked Dr Susumu and acknowledged the assistance that has been received thus far; advising on the two Fiji national students are currently enrolled at the university under the Japanese Government scholarship.

Minister Kubuabola with Fijian Students of Tohoku University

Minister Kubuabola, Ambassador Mataitoga, HCG Moriya and Fijian Students of Tohoku University

He stressed that Fiji already has close relations with the people of the Tohoku Region. Following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the Tohoku region in 11 March 2011, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama offered to assist families devastated by this disaster by relocating their children to Fiji to study for up to one year as guests of the Fiji Government, under Fiji Government’s Humanitarian Assistance Project for the Tohoku Region – Japan. He further added that Fiji has a very active and vibrant Honorary Consul General’s Office in Sendai and that we are all well connected to the business community here and the Tohoku region.

The meeting concluded with mutual expression of goodwill to each other. It was agreed that relevant parties should coordinate closely with each other to ensure smooth follow up.

Partnering in Disaster Risk Reduction with Tohoku Community, Japan

Ambassador at KIDS TREE PLANTING TOHOKU

Ambassador Mataitoga planting Fiji’s Tree at the KIDS NOW TREE PLANTING, Tohoku Japan

 In our continuing effort to support the earthquake and tsunami devastated region of Tohoku, H.E Mr. Isikeli Mataitoga participated at the Kids Now Tree Planting Ceremony organised by the Non-Profit Organisation KIDS NOW Japan on 14th March. Fiji and Kiribati were privileged to be part of this tree planting goodwill which was facilitated by Fiji’s Honorary Consul General for the Tohoku Region, Mr. Takayuki Moriya. The trees are labelled Fiji and Kiribati and would be transferred to the Sendai Central Park at a later stage.

H.E Mr. Isikeli Mataitoga, Fiji’s Ambassador to Japan Held Dialogue with UNESCAP

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Ambassador Mataitoga with the UNESCAP Executives

 On behalf of Minister Seruiratu, Fiji’s Ambassador to Japan, H.E Mr. Isikeli Mataitoga convened an audience with the ESCAP officials consisted of Under Secretary-General Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Dr. Shamika Sirimane and Dr. Kilaparti Ramakrishna on Tuesday, 17th March. Assistance for capacity development in terms of mainstreaming DRR in Fiji’s agricultural plans to allow sustainable agriculture was the gist of discussion inter-alia. Dr. Akhtar stated that it is possible for ESCAP to mobilise funds and resources to hold this capacity building programme in Fiji. Ambassador Mataitoga also mentioned about pulling in some countries in this regard in view of South-South Cooperation which was consented to by Dr. Akhtar. Also, Ambassador asked if ESCAP could sensitize their Office in Suva about this training initiative. The meeting also seized the opportunity to inform the ESCAP officials of the PIDF structure and its objective and noted on the Samoa Pathway.

 

Minister Kubuabola met with Vice Minister Akiba MP and Sendai Business Men

Minister Kubuabola with VM Hon. Akiba & Sendai Businessmen

Minister Kubuabola with Vice Minister Akiba, FET Staff and Sendai Businessmen.

Hosted by HCG Mr. Moriya and Mrs. Moriya, a meeting over dinner was convened between Minister Kubuabola and Vice Minister Akiba, LDP Member of House of Reps (beside Minister Kubuabola) along with prominent business men of Sendai, some of whom are expressing interest to do business in Fiji. Most of these business moguls will be part of the Business Mission trip to Fiji that HCG Mr. Moriya is organising in July.

 

Chairman of the Japan External Trade Organization Requested to Assist Japanese SME’s Do Business or Invest in Fiji

HE Ambassador Isikeli Mataitoga on Friday 6th March 2015 paid a courtesy call on Mr. Hiroyuki Ishige, Chairman of the Japan External Trade and Regional Organization (JETRO) at the JETRO Building, Tokyo.

At the outset Ambassador thanked Mr. Ishige for the opportunity to discuss bilateral matters that would enhance and deepen Fiji-Japan trade relation. He informed of the support from the relevant agencies, in particular of the JETRO regional offices that have supported the Embassy in its outreach activities.

The Ambassador informed of the new Japanese Development Cooperation Charter which was approved by the Cabinet last 10th February 2015, further underlining that without such changes, pursuing trade and market access in Japan is a difficult opportunity. This is crucial given that Fiji being a middle income economy did not qualify for grant aid in the past; but receive assistance through regional frameworks.

Another issue raised by Ambassador relates to any role JETRO may play in the organization of a Workshop in Fiji for representatives of Japanese SME’s who may be interested in doing business or investing in Fiji in particular in sectors such agriculture, fisheries, food manufacturing etc, that would be exported to Japan and other markets in the Asia-Pacific region. In this regard, the Fijian Government provides generous support in both taxation and duty free concessions to investors in designated sectors of the Fijian economy.

Mr Ishige added that JETRO will be able to cooperate in the upcoming PALM Summit scheduled in May 2015, in organizing a Business Forum for the PIC Leaders to know Japanese business people and for the Leaders to show what`s going on in the PICs. He further stressed on the international exhibitions such as FOODEX 2015 which is currently taking place at Makuhari Messe in Chiba. Participation application for 2016 is said to be available from September 2015.

Mr Ishige also mentioned of his JETRO Sydney staff who will be meeting CEO Investment Fiji in Fiji, to discuss on trade cooperation. Ambassador further mentioned of his prefectural visits throughout Japan and indicated Fiji’s willingness for deepening its trade and economic exchanges with Japanese companies.

In conclusion, Mr. Ishige thanked Ambassador for the invaluable exchanges that have transpired. The Ambassador was accompanied by SS Kelera Savu.

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(l-r) Executive Vice President Mr Daisuke Hiratsuka, HE Mr Isikeli Mataitoga and CEO/Chairman Mr Hiroyuki Ishige

Meeting with the Deputy Director-General of the International Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tokyo

HE Ambassador Isikeli Mataitoga on Thursday 5th March 2015 held a meeting with Mr. Ken Okaniwa, Deputy Director-General of the International Cooperation Bureau and Deputy Press Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the MOFA Tokyo.

At the outset Ambassador thanked Mr. Okaniwa for the opportunity to discuss bilateral matters that would enhance and deepen Fiji-Japan relation. He informed of the new Japanese Development Cooperation Charter which was approved by the Cabinet on 10th February 2015, and further advised that this is the first time that the Oceania Region and SIDS has been specifically stated in a Japanese Government ODA statement.

The meeting agenda underscored three specific issues in the context of the new Charter:

  • South/South Cooperation in Human Resources in specialized areas of priority in Fiji;
  • Capacity Building Development Assistance for First Response to Natural Disaster Rehabilitation work; and
  • Business support and initial development risk support for Japanese SMEs wishing to do business in Fiji.

Also in charge of promoting sports, Mr Okaniwa discussed of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, stressing how strong the Fijian rugby team is. Ambassador further mentioned of his prefectural visits throughout Japan and indicated Fiji’s willingness for deepening its people-to-people exchanges, sport diplomacy with Japan.

In conclusion Mr. Okaniwa thanked Ambassador for the insightful exchanges and expressed his wish to continue discussion on some of the bilateral concerns. The Ambassador was accompanied by SS Kelera Savu.

Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) for the PALM7

Senior Officials Meeting (SOM), a preparatory meeting for the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM7) scheduled for 22 and 23 May 2015, Iwaki city, Fukushima prefecture was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Building in Tokyo on Wednesday, 4th March 2015. This was followed by a reception at New Otani Hotel hosted by the Hon. Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kazuyuki Nakane. The Fijian delegation was led by HE Ambassador Isikeli Mataitoga.

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Fiji Tourism Marketing Seminar To JICA Tokyo Trainees

As part of FET Outreach to various institutes and organizations throughout Japan, the Embassy conducted a Fiji Tourism & Marketing Promotion Seminar at the JICA Tokyo Training Center on Thursday 26th February 2015. About 7(seven) JICA trainees from Albania, Estonia, Kosovo, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine and Montenegro and JICA Tokyo Staffs attended the 2 and a ½ hour seminar. The seminar was the joint effort of the Fiji Embassy in Tokyo and JICA Tokyo focussing on Fiji-Japan Tourism history, promotion, marketing and future prospects.

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Consultations with Inter Actions Corporation (IAC)

The Director of Inter Actions Corporation (IAC), Mr Nobuo Kiji held consultations with HE Ambassador Isikeli Mataitoga on Thursday 26th February 2015, to discuss on project areas IAC is involved in and discuss possible investment cooperation.

In December 2013, PM Bainimarama commissioned the Rukua Village Solar Grid Project which was undertaken by Inter Action Corporation and the Department of Energy in Fiji. IAC also undertook a project for setting up 2000 Solar Home Units in the Solomon Islands, under the PEC program. It was informed that IAC Group is able to create sustainable circulation in the society. Further elaborating on food waste and cow dung, which can be sources of fertilizer or energy for Agriculture and Life. Renewable energy such as solar power, wind, geothermal and biomass were a few to name. IAC has also recently had an M&A with a local company in Kagoshima, Kyushu for its geo-thermal business activities, emphasizing on the food waste and cow dung.

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High Level International Diplomacy in Philippine: Asia-Pacific Regional Seminar for Parliaments on Translating International Human Rights Commitments into National Realities.

 

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Hon. Dr. Jiko Luveni, Speaker of Parliament at the Conference Main.

The Asia-Pacific Regional Seminar for Parliaments themed “Translating International Human Rights   Commitments into National Realities: the Contribution of Parliaments to the Work of the UN Human Rights Council” was held in Manila, Philippines from 26-27th February 2015. The Honourable Dr. Jiko Luveni, Speaker of the Republic of Fiji’s Parliament, attended the Conference on the invitation of the President of the Senate Office of Philippine, Honourable Mr. Franklin Drilon. She was accompanied by the Acting Deputy Secretary General, Mrs. Jeanette Emberson, and Counsellor Julia Korovou of the Fiji Embassy Tokyo, who rendered support and secretariat services. Fiji’s Honorary Consul (HC) for Philippine, Mr. Pineda Jr. was also on hand.

Madame Speaker Manila

Hon. Dr. Luveni Presiding Over Panel Session on Common Challenges regarding the human rights situation in Asia-Pacific.

The Conference’s objective was to inform participants about how the Human Rights Council functions and alert them to the importance of becoming more involved. The meeting aimed to identify good parliamentary practices in working with the Council and in promoting and protecting human rights in general, in particular, by initiating an effective and continuous dialogue with other stakeholders such as national institutions and civil society. It also aims to determine the appropriate cooperation framework among other stakeholders, in particular the executive, national human rights institutions, civil society and parliaments with a view to maximising the latter’s contribution to the promotion of human rights.

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Hon. Dr. Luveni addressing the Conference at the beginning of the Panel Session .

 

Madame Speaker moderated a Panel Session titled “Common Challenges regarding the human rights situation in Asia-Pacific.” The session aimed to examine how States in the region, with the help of parliaments, have been able to address some of these issues notably: ensuring the proper administration of justice; and Climate Change, environment and global warming/Climate Justice.

 

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Hon. Dr. Luveni with Mr. and Mrs. Pineda Jr. at dinner.

 

 

 

 

On the eve of 27th February, the Honourable Dr. Luveni along with Mrs. Emberson and Counsellor Korovou were hosted to a dinner by HC Pineda Jr. and Mrs. Pineda. Madame Speaker expressed her sincere gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Pineda Jr. for their generosity and assistance provided during the course of her Conference, and requested that her Office be informed of their Madame Speaker Manila 4visit to Fiji in June as she wishes to organise for them a tour of Fiji’s Parliament Office.

       

Initiating Economic Cooperation with Philippine

Counsellor Korovou convened a follow-up meeting with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Philippines on Wednesday, 25th February 2015 which was presided over by Mr. Raymond Albert H Batac, Executive Director Foreign Trade Service Corps. Officials from the various divisions of the DTI viz Bureau of Micro & SME Development, Consumer & Industrial Division, Export Marketing Bureau, Business Development Division and Industrial Policy Service were in attendance.

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Counsellor Korovou and Officials of DTI Manila. At the top right is Mr. Batac Executive Director Foreign Trade Service Corps.

At the outset, Counsellor Korovou sincerely thanked Mr. Batac and his Officials for their warm reception and remarkable presence. She underlined the purpose of her meeting was to follow-up on certain issues that were last discussed at their first meeting held in October 2014  and also to initiate meaningful cooperation that are mutually practical and beneficial. The meeting reiterated the fact that there is currently insignificant trade between Fiji and the Philippine hence, the logic to explore other areas of feasible meaningful economic cooperation. Counsellor Korovou mentioned that the first Philippine/Fiji DCA is soon to be completed and ratified by both the Ministers for Foreign Affairs expectantly by 2nd or 3rd Quarter of the year. To that end, she remarked that the Agreement would leverage some of the cooperation prospects that would be classified in this and subsequent meetings. DTI’s request for a copy of a Draft DCA for their information and views was noted.

Few issues were drawn from the outcomes of the previous meeting which encompassed the Philippine national and international trade and investment exhibitions such as the FAME, IFEX, as well as how Fiji would like to learn from Philippine’s best practices in the management of SMEs and Micro-business as this is one of the development policies of the Fijian Government to growing a sustainable economy. Mr. Batac advised that it would be ideal for Fiji to first participate as an observer in such immense expositions to gauge the nature of business environment, product types and quality of participants to assist with their diligence on the level of participation – whether as a trade or investment player in successive events. An invitation to Fiji for the next exhibition was noted.

Counsellor Korovou explained that given the paltry level of trade and investment between the two countries it would be ideal to seek cooperation in the areas of capacity building in terms of self-help projects in fashion design and jewelleries, SMEs enhancement, entrepreneurship and management courses for women, and investment/product packaging and promotion strategies for export products. Mr. Batac and the DTI officials concurred with the capacity building cooperation alluded to as appropriate and practical to build and progress economic relations between the two countries, particularly given the backdrop of the Philippine’s economy as constituting 99% of SMEs. It was noted that the APEC 2015 in Philippines will host SMEs workshops focusing on capacity building in supply chains – food, handicraft and automotive as the focal products. Counsellor Korovou mentioned that Fiji though not a member of APEC was invited by the Russian Federation Government who played host in 2012 to participate at the APEC meeting in Vladivostok. In that regard, the Bureau of SMEs considered to issue Fiji an invitation to participate at their APEC SMEs programme.

Keen interest focused on fashion design and jewelleries using local resources unique to Fiji per se. Counsellor Korovou mentioned that though this is an infant industry in Fiji there is significant potential based on the talents being demonstrated by youths. Assistance to help produce fashion and jewelleries for high end markets abroad was underscored, as such sector is envisaged to create self-help projects and employment for the Fijians if appropriately supported with the right learning aptitude, skills and entrepreneurial knowledge essential to successfully produce for international niche markets. As such, the DTI recommended dialogue with certain Departments and Organisations to further discuss this initiative, namely the Design Centre of Philippines and Department of Science and Technology. DTI advised that it would be fitting for Fiji to promote its indigenous fabric/resources by maintaining their look but evolve them to attract high end markets. Tax incentives, capacity building, product specification/development, initial financing facilities and subsidisation of raw materials including private sector partnership were underscored to have all contributed to the successful and strong SMEs in the Philippines. DTI mentioned that an ideal cooperation in which Philippine could pursue with Fiji is to learn from its tourism development success inclusive of the construction process of five star hotels and related infrastructure, an area that Philippine endeavours to advance.

By common consent the following were identified as practical spheres of cooperation to explore: exchange of information; capacity development; exchange study missions; expositions and tourism/hotel development.  Both parties committed to effect necessary follow-up to progress mutual beneficial economic cooperation between Fiji and Philippine. In closure, Counsellor Korovou thanked Mr. Batac and his team for their time and invaluable exchanges.