U.S. BECOMES FIJI’S TOP EXPORT MARKET

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U.S. BECOMES FIJI’S TOP EXPORT MARKET 2007 exports up 4.8 percent, to US$153 million

By Ashwini Prasad

SUVA. Fiji (Fiji Times, March 3, 2008) – The United States is now Fiji's number one export market and offers the best opportunity for export growth and expansion for Fiji's export industries in the next three years, says Fiji's Trade Commissioner to the USA, Ilisoni Vuidreketi.

Mr Vuidreketi made the comments while announcing that Fiji's exports to the United States recorded a growth of 4.8 per cent over the 2006 mark to stand at FJ$227.2 million (US$152.8 million) in 2007.

He said the growth was achieved despite the political and economic challenges the country experienced during the year.

Fiji's 2007 exports to the USA was almost equal to its combined exports to the traditional markets of Australia and New Zealand.

In a statement, Mr Vuidreketi said some of the export commodities that achieved records in 2007 were:

Mineral water: 40 per cent increase over 2006 to set a new record of $F84.48million to $US56.8million. The figure represents a 100 per cent growth over the past three years and replaces tuna as Fiji's number one export to the USA.

Fish (fresh and frozen): 71 percent growth over 2006 to set a new record of $F15.11million ($US10.16million). A 66 per cent growth over the past three years and replaces sugar as the number three export to the USA.

Wood and wood products: 16 per cent growth over 2006 to set a new record of $F9.77million ($US6.57million) a 270 per cent growth over the last three years.

Taro, cassava and agro-produce: 22 per cent increase over 2006 to set a new record of $F4.28million ($US2.88million). A 71 per cent growth over the past three years.

Mr Vuidreketi said export promotion activities carried out by the Trade Commission LA in 2007 had yielded dividends. "We've now managed to reverse the declining export trends experienced in the previous years." he said.

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