FIJI EXPORTS TO U.S. JUMP

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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, July 26) - Fijis exports to the United States of America in April and May 2007 showed significant turnaround from the declines recorded in the first three months of the year, according to statistics released by the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

Total exports to the USA in April amounted to US$10.56 million (FJ$16 million) a 79 percent increase over March and May.

Fiji Trade Commissioner to the U.S., Ilisoni Vuidreketi said these are remarkable improvements from the low export earnings recorded in months of January US$7.8 million (FJ$12 million), February US$7 million (FJ$11 million) and March US$5.9 million (FJ$9 million).

Our change of strategy on direct marketing and aggressive export promotion campaigns seems to be paying dividends, especially for fish and agro-produce exports, he said. He said although the commission had managed to link up more Fiji exporters with US buyers, the Fiji suppliers still need to improve their export capabilities to meet the high standards in the US market in terms of product quality, packaging and labeling and consistencies in supplies.

The May 2007 export figure was also an increase of 38.7 percent over May 2006 exports of US$9.6 million (FJ$15 million). In comparison to May 2006, notable increases were recorded in May 2007 for fresh and frozen fish (166 percent); vegetables, taro and cassava (61 percent); fruits and noni and vanilla (161 percent); tuna loins (30 percent); mineral water (60 percent); and natural oils (32 percent).

However, the declines were recorded for timber (61 percent) and knitted apparel (73 percent). The above mentioned are also attributed to the success of the US export seminar that the Fiji Trade Commission conducted in Suva and Lautoka early this year in partnership with the Fiji Mission in New York and the FTIB.

We are currently experiencing a slow down in investment inquiries here in the USA, so we will go strong on research and export market development as an immediate and mid term solution to the challenges faced by our economy.

Fiji imports from the US in May increased by 63 percent to US$2.1 million (FJ$3 million) from US$1.3 million (FJ$2 million) recorded in May 2006.

Our trade balance for the month was positive US$11.2 million (FJ$17 million), which is a 35 percent from the same month last year, he said.

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