The Republic of Fiji has traditionally been the economic, transportation, and academic hub of the South Pacific islands, with trade and investment potential in infrastructure development, energy, mining, health, and agriculture. The impact, however, of the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on international travel in 2020 plunged the tourism-reliant country into its largest ever economic contraction. The government’s latest forecast estimates the economy contracted by 19.0 percent in 2020. Recovery of the economy is contingent on the resumption international travel in 2021 along with continued government borrowing to sustain public expenditures.
The government declared Fiji “COVID-19 contained” in 2020 with strict limits on international visitors and a mandatory 14-day quarantine period under strict supervision for all arrivals. These COVID-19 Safe Economic Recovery Framework rules create significant hurdles for foreign investors who intend to travel to Fiji.
Since March 2020, tourist arrivals declined 83.6 percent. Labor market conditions in 2020 deteriorated resulting in an estimated 115,00 out of the 360,000-person workforce losing their jobs. The Reserve Bank of Fiji estimates that remittances from Fijians working abroad will overtake tourism as the largest foreign exchange earner in 2020, growing about six percent to more than USD 320 million (FJD 652 million). Government revenues are estimated to decline by 50 percent, and total exports in 2020 are expected to fall by 23.9 percent.
|TI Corruption Perceptions Index||2020||N/A||http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview|
|World Bank’s Doing Business Report||2020||102||http://www.doingbusiness.org/en/rankings|
|Global Innovation Index||2020||N/A||https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/analysis-indicator|
|U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions)||2019||5,206.4||https://www.statsfiji.gov.fj/index.php/statistics/economic-statistics/balance-of-payments|
|World Bank GNI per capita||2019||5,800||http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD|
1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment
Due to COVID-19 health crisis, the government’s COVID Safe Economic Recovery Framework creates significant hurdles for foreign investors who intend to travel to Fiji. One measure within the framework calls for an additional assessment by the government’s COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Taskforce of all new investment ventures. The Fiji government continues to review its investment policies to improve efficiency of doing business in Fiji. Investment Fiji is responsible for the promotion of foreign investment in the interest of national development (its previous powers as a regulator were removed in 2020). In addition to registering and assisting with the implementation of foreign investment projects, Investment Fiji hosts information seminars for visiting foreign business delegations and participates at investment missions overseas.
Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
The Foreign Investment Act (FIA) and the 2009 Foreign Investment Regulation regulate foreign investment in Fiji. All businesses with a foreign investment component in their ownership are required to register and obtain a Foreign Investment Registration Certificate (FIRC) from Investment Fiji.
Some investment activities are reserved for Fiji nationals or are subject to restrictions. There is no minimum investment requirement. There are 17 reserved activities exclusively for Fiji citizens, mainly in the services sector, and eight restricted activities. Full listings of reserved and restricted areas can be found at: http://www.investmentfiji.org.fj/pages.cfm/for-investors/doing-business-in-fiji/foreign-investment-act-foreign-investment-regulations.html. Restricted activities in forestry, tobacco production, tourism (cultural heritage), real estate development, construction, earthmoving, and inter-island shipping or passenger service require minimum investments ranging from USD 250,000 – 2.5 million (FJD 500,00 – 5 million). Investment in the fisheries sector also requires a 30 percent local equity in the project. Investment Fiji helps vet foreign investment proposals to ensure that the projects are in the interest of national development and to support implementation of projects.
Other Investment Policy Reviews
Fiji has not undergone any third-party investment policy reviews in the past three years. In 2016, Fiji completed its second WTO trade policy review (https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/tp430_e.htm) and ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in 2017. In 2015, UNCTAD undertook a voluntary peer review of Fiji’s competition law and policy, available at http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/ditcclp2015d5_en.pdf.
The Fiji government’s bizFiji website (www.business-fiji.com) is an information portal for new and existing businesses, as well as foreign investors. The portal provides information on the business registration process, how to obtain construction permits, and included application forms and links to all the required agencies, including the Registrar of Companies, Fiji Revenue and Customs Services (FRCS), Fiji National Provident Fund, National Occupational Health and Safety Services, and the Fiji National University. The government’s reforms to improve the ease and reduce the cost of doing business include eliminating the business license requirement for low-risk businesses, reducing processing times for business licenses to 48 hours, and removing several requirements for existing businesses. Since the launch of bizFiji in 2019, the government has worked to develop a single online clearance system to improve registration processes, but inefficiencies remain.
For foreign investors, the bizFiji website is also linked to the Investment Fiji website. The registration form and procedures, and regulations for foreign investment is available at the Investment Fiji issue of the Foreign Investment Registration Certificate (FIRC). Applications for a FIRC and payment of the requisite application fee of USD 1,336 (FJD 2,725) needs to be submitted to Investment Fiji. Investors need to meet the requirements listed under the Foreign Investment Act (FIA) and the 2009 Foreign Investment Regulation as well as ensure that the investment activity does not fall under the reserved and restricted activities lists. The registration process for investment applications takes at least five working days and sometimes longer if the paperwork is incomplete.
Investors are also required to obtain the necessary permits and licenses from other relevant authorities and should be prepared for delays. There are no special services or preferences to facilitate investment and business operations by micro, small and medium sized enterprises, or by women.
Contact: Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Level 2 and 3, Civic Tower, Victoria Parade, Suva; Telephone: (679) 330 5411; Website: www.mcttt.gov.fj
The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) tightened exchange controls and any outward investment by individuals, companies, and non-bank financial institutions, including the Fiji National Provident Fund, require clearance from the RBF.
2. Bilateral Investment Agreements and Taxation Treaties
Fiji does not have any Bilateral Investment Treaties in force but has signed Treaties with Investment Provisions (TIPs) with the European Union, and Australia. In 2020, Fiji signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the United States and is in discussions on a wide range of issues to expand trade and investment.
Fiji has double taxation agreements with Australia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. Fiji has not entered into a double taxation agreement with the United States.
3. Legal Regime
Transparency of the Regulatory System
The lack of consultation with the private sector and other stakeholders on proposed laws and regulations remains an area of concern. The business community has complained that the government enacts new regulations with little prior notice or publicity. Foreign investors perceive a lack of transparency in government procurement and approval processes, and some considering investment in Fiji have encountered lengthy and costly bureaucratic delays, shuffling of permits among government ministries, inconsistent and changing procedures, lack of technical capacity, costly penalties due to the interpretation of tax regulations by the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS), and slow decision-making. The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) regulates all food and animal products entering Fiji and has stringent and costly point-of-origin inspection and quarantine requirements for foreign goods.
Fiji’s constitution provides for public access to government information and for the correction or deletion of false or misleading information. Although the constitution requires that a freedom of information law be enacted, there is no such law yet. Proposed bills or regulations, including investment regulations, are made available and usually posted on the relevant ministry or regulatory authority’s website. The parliamentary website (http://www.parliament.gov.fj/) is a centralized online location that publishes laws and regulations passed in parliament. The government’s public finances and debt obligations are also made available annually in the budget documents.
International Regulatory Considerations
Fiji is a member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) that allows for the duty-free trade of goods between Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. Fiji has been a member of the WTO since January 1996. According to Fiji’s trade profile on the WTO website, there are no records of disputes. Fiji ratified the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement in 2017.
Legal System and Judicial Independence
The legal system in Fiji developed from British law. Fiji maintains a judiciary consisting of a Supreme Court, a Court of Appeal, a High Court, and magistrate courts. The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal.
Both companies and individuals have recourse to legal treatment through the system of local and superior courts. A foreign investor theoretically has the right of recourse to the courts and tribunals of Fiji with respect to the settlement of disputes, but government laws have been used to block foreign investors from legal recourse in investment takeovers, tax increases, or write-offs of interest to the government.
Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment
The Foreign Investment Act (FIA) and the 2009 Foreign Investment Regulation regulate foreign investment in Fiji. All businesses with a foreign-investment component in their ownership are required to register and obtain a Foreign Investment Registration Certificate (FIRC). Information on the registration procedures, regulations, and registration requirements for foreign investment is available at the Investment Fiji website: http://www.investmentfiji.org.fj. Amendments to the FIA also require that foreign investors seek approval prior to any changes in the ownership structure of the business, with penalties incurred for non-compliance.
The Fiji government’s bizFiji website (www.business-fiji.com), an information portal for new and existing businesses, and foreign investors, includes links to the Investment Fiji website. Since the launch of bizFiji in 2019, the government has worked to develop a single online clearance system to improve registration processes, but inefficiencies remain.
Competition and Antitrust Laws
The Fiji Competition and Commerce Commission (FCCC) regulates monopolies, promotes competition, and controls prices of selected hardware, basic food items, and utilities to ensure a fair, competitive, and equitable market.
Expropriation and Compensation
Expropriation has not historically been a common phenomenon in Fiji. A foreign investor theoretically has the same right of recourse as a Fijian enterprise to the courts and other tribunals of Fiji to settle disputes. In practice, the government has acted to assert its interests with laws affecting foreign investors.
In 2013, the government amended the Foreign Investment Decree with provisions to permit the forfeiture of foreign investments as well as significant fines for breaches of compliance with foreign investment registration conditions.
ICSID Convention and New York Convention
Fiji acceded to the New York Convention in September 2010. Fiji has been a member of the ICSID since September 1977. However, there are no legislative or other measures adopted to make the convention effective.
Investor-State Dispute Settlement
The government has sometimes opted to penalize foreign investors by deportation in lieu of dispute settlement but there have been no new cases since 2016.
Past investment disputes have often focused on land issues, particularly in the mining, timber and tourism sectors. Such disputes have been resolved through labor-management dialogue, government intervention, referral to compulsory arbitration, or through the courts. In some instances, the investors have withdrawn from Fiji when a resolution could not be found. Fiji is a party to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes Between States and Nationals of Other States.
The World Bank Doing Business 2020 survey ranked Fiji 101 out of 190 on the efficiency of the judicial system to resolve a commercial dispute. According to the survey, Fiji took 397 calendar days to complete procedures at a cost of 42.6 percent of the value of the claim.
International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts
Fiji is a party to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes Between States and Nationals of Other States. Fiji acceded to the New York Convention in September 2010. Fiji also enacted the International Arbitration Act to improve the framework governing international commercial arbitration, adopting a version of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNICTRAL) model law on arbitration. The Fiji Mediation Center (FMC) is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism, with local and international mediators accredited by the Center in collaboration with Singapore. The FMC services include family, commercial, and small case mediation, and as of March 2019, has mediated over 190 cases, with 67 percent of the mediated cases settled, and 84 percent of cases settled within one working day.
Fiji’s Companies Act 2015 has provisions relating to solvency and negative solvency. According to the 2020 World Bank Doing Business survey, prior to COVID-19, in terms of resolving insolvency, it took an estimated 1.8 years at a cost of ten percent of the estate to complete the process, with an estimated recovery rate of 46.5 percent of value.
4. Industrial Policies
Fiji offers incentives to encourage investment in retirement village/aged care facilities, the health sector, tourism, and the information communication technology (ICT) sector.
In the health sector, the income of any business setting up private hospitals and ancillary medical services (such as pathology lab, MRI, or other diagnostics) is exempt from taxation between 7-20 years, dependent on the level of capital investments above USD 245,200 (FJD 500,000). Incentives for investment in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products include tax holidays ranging from 5-13 years, dependent on the level of investment and above the threshold of USD 122,600 (FJD 250,000). For retirement village/aged care facilities, incentives include tax holidays between 5-13 years, dependent on the level of capital investment. Incentives in the ICT sector that include investment in call centers, engineering and design, software development, animation and content creation, distance learning, market research, compliance and risk services, include tax exemptions for a period of 13 years and zero import duties on computer, computer parts, and specialized equipment. There are various incentives to encourage investment in the agriculture, bio-fuel production, redevelopment of commercial buildings, tourism, and warehouse construction.
Government is increasingly participating in public private partnerships. Although it does not practice issuing guarantees to foreign direct investments, it had previously offered a tax holiday for the entire period of the partnership agreement.
Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation
The northern and selected maritime regions of Fiji have been declared Tax Free Regions (TFR) to encourage development in these isolated outposts. The specific areas include Vanua Levu, Rotuma, Kadavu, Levuka, Lomaiviti, Lau, and the Korovou-Tailevu area in the east of Viti Levu. Businesses established in these regions that meet the prescribed requirements enjoy a corporate tax holiday for up to 13 years and import duty exemption on raw materials, machinery, and equipment.
Performance and Data Localization Requirements
Many jobs are reserved for Fijian citizens, and work permit applications for expatriate employees may face delays or denials. Potential employers and employees should consult Fiji Immigration for further information prior to making any binding commitments as it can be difficult to secure employment visas for non-Fijians. The COVID-19 safety requirements in place since 2020 are also complicating and causing lengthy processing for work permits for all foreigners.
To support the implementation of newly approved investments, Investment Fiji established a monitoring system to assist companies in obtaining necessary approvals to commence operations. The investing firm must ensure that commercial production begins within 12 months for investments under USD 1.1 million (FJD 2.5 million) or within 18 months of the date of approval of the project for investments above USD 1.1 million (FJD 2.5 million).
The U.S. Embassy is unaware of any policies regulating data storage or requiring foreign IT providers to turn over source code or provide access to surveillance.
5. Protection of Property Rights
Land tenure and usage in Fiji is a highly complex and sensitive issue. Fiji’s Land Sales Act of 2014 restricts ownership of freehold land inside a city or town council boundaries areas to Fijian citizens. There are exceptions to allow foreigners to purchase strata title land, which is defined as ownership in part of a property including multi-level apartments or subdivisions. Foreigners are still allowed to purchase, sell, or lease freehold land for industrial or commercial purposes, residential purposes within an integrated tourism development, or for the operation of a hotel licensed under the Hotel and Guest Houses Act. The Land Sales Act also requires foreign landowners who purchase approved land to build a dwelling valued at a minimum of USD 122,600 (FJD 250,000) on the land within two years or face an annual tax of 20 percent of the land value (applied as ten percent every six months). Freehold land currently owned by a non-Fijian can pass to the owners’ heirs and will not be deemed a sale.
Foreign landowners criticized the government of Fiji for the speed at which the act was passed and the perceived lack of consultation with landowners and developers. The application of the Land Sales Act continues to create uncertainty among foreign investors. The Fiji government has yet to provide full clarification of the act, such as defining what constitutes an integrated tourism development. The limited capacity of construction and architecture firms makes it difficult to comply with the two-year time frame for building a dwelling before tax penalties set in.
According to the pre-COVID-19 World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business Report, registering property took a total of 69 days and involved four main processes, including conducting title searches at the Titles Office, presenting transfer documents for stamping at the Stamp Duty office, obtaining tax clearance on capital gains tax, and settlement at the Registrar of Titles Office.
Ethnic Fijians communally hold approximately 87 percent of all land. Crown land owned by the government accounts for four percent while the remainder is freehold land, which private individuals or companies hold. All land owned by ethnic Fijians, commonly referred to as iTaukei land, is held in a statutory trust by the iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB) for the benefit of indigenous landholding units.
To improve access to land, the government established a land bank in the Ministry of Lands under the land use decree for the purpose of leasing land from indigenous landowning units (collections of households; under the indigenous communal landowning system, land is not owned by individuals) through the TLTB and subleasing the land to individual tenants for lease periods of up to 99 years.
The constitution includes other new provisions protecting land leases and land tenancies, but observers noted that the provisions had unintended consequences, including weakening the overall legal structure governing leases.
The availability of Crown land for leasing is usually advertised. This does not, however, preclude consideration given to individual applications in cases where land is required for special purposes. Government leases for industrial purposes can last up to 99 years with rents reassessed every ten years. TLTB leases for land nearer to urban locations are normally for 50-75 years. Annual rent is reassessed every five years. The maximum rent that can be levied in both cases is six percent of unimproved capital value. Leases also usually carry development conditions that require lessees to effect improvements within a specified time.
Apart from the requirements of the TLTB and Lands Department, town planning, conservation, and other requirements specified by central and local government authorities affect the use of land. Investors are urged to seek local legal advice in all transactions involving land.
Intellectual Property Rights
Fiji’s copyright laws are in conformity with World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) provisions. Copyright laws adhere to international laws but are outdated. In 2020, the government reviewed the trademark and patent laws; however, the enforcement of these laws remains weak. There is no protection for designs or trade secrets.
Illegal materials and reproductions of films, sound recordings, and computer programs are widely available throughout Fiji. The government is reviewing trademark and patent laws, but capacity is a challenge.
For additional information about national laws and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/.
6. Financial Sector
Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment
The capital market is regulated and supervised by the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF). Twenty companies were listed on the Suva-based South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPSE). At the end of September 2020, market capitalization was USD 1.7 billion (FJD 3.4 billion), an annual increase of 0.6 percent compared to September 2019. To promote greater activity in the capital market, the government lowered corporate tax rates for listed companies to ten percent and exempted income earned from the trading of shares in the SPSE from income tax and capital gains tax. The RBF issued the Companies (Wholesale Corporate Bonds) Regulations 2021 to develop the domestic corporate bond market by providing a simplified process for the issuance of corporate bonds to eligible wholesale investors only.
Foreign investors are permitted to obtain credit from authorized banks and other lending institutions without the approval of the RBF for loans up to USD 4.9 million (FJD 10 million), provided the debt-to-equity ratio of 3:1 is satisfied.
Money and Banking System
Fiji has a well-developed banking system supervised by the Reserve Bank of Fiji. The RBF regulates the Fiji monetary and banking systems, manages the issuance of currency notes, administers exchange controls, and provides banking and other services to the government. In addition, it provides lender-of-last-resort facilities and regulates trading bank liquidity.
There are six commercial banks with established operations in Fiji: ANZ Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of South Pacific, Bred Bank, Home Finance Corporation (HFC), and Westpac Banking Corporation, with the HFC the only locally owned bank. Non-banking financial institutions also provide financial assistance and borrowing facilities to the commercial community and to consumers. These institutions include the Fiji Development Bank, Credit Corporation, Kontiki Finance, Merchant Finance, and insurance companies. As of December 2020, total assets of commercial banks amounted to USD 5.2 billion (FJD 10.7 billion). The RBF reported that liquidity reached USD 410.4 million (FJD 836.8 million) in December 2020 and that reserves were sufficient and did not pose a risk to bank solvency. However, the RBF also noted that existing levels of non-performing loans could rise, with the ending of moratoriums offered by financial institutions to COVID-19 affected customers. To open a bank account, foreign investors need to provide a copy of the Foreign Investment Registration Certificate (FIRC) issued by Investment Fiji.
Foreign Exchange and Remittances
The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) tightened foreign exchange controls to safeguard foreign reserves and prevent capital flight to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The Fiji dollar remains fully convertible. The Fiji dollar is pegged to a basket of currencies of Fiji’s principal trading partners, chiefly Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the European Union, and Japan.
Although no limits were placed on non-residents borrowing locally for some specified investment activities, the RBF placed a credit ceiling on lending by commercial banks to non-resident controlled business entities.
The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) tightened foreign exchange controls, requiring RBF approval for any investment profit remittances. Prior clearance of withholding tax payments on profit and dividend remittances is required from the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service. Tax compliance may restrict foreign investors’ repatriation of investment profits and capital. A tax clearance certificate is required for remittances above USD9,808 (FJD 20,000) and audited accounts for amounts above USD 245,200 (FJD 500,000). The processing time for remittance applications is approximately three working days, is contingent on all the required documentation submitted to the RBF.
Sovereign Wealth Funds
The Fiji government does not maintain a sovereign wealth fund or asset management bureau in Fiji. The country’s pension fund scheme, the Fiji National Provident Fund, which manages and invests members’ retirement savings, accounts for a third of Fiji’s financial sector assets. The fund invests in equities, bonds, commercial paper, mortgages, real estate and various offshore investments.
7. State-Owned Enterprises
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in Fiji are concentrated in utilities and key services and industries including aerospace (Fiji Airways, Airports Fiji Limited); agribusiness (Fiji Pine Ltd); energy (Energy Fiji Limited); food processing (Fiji Sugar Corporation, Pacific Fishing Company); information and communication (Amalgamated Telecom Holdings); and media (Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Ltd). There are ten Government Commercial Companies which operate commercially and are fully owned by the government, five Commercial Statutory Authorities (CSA) which have regulatory functions and charge nominal fees for their services, seven Majority Owned Companies, and two Minority Owned Companies with some government equity. The SOEs that provide essential utilities, such as energy and water, also have social responsibility and non-commercial obligations. A list of SOEs is published in government’s annual budget documentation.
Aside from the CSAs, SOEs do not exercise delegated governmental powers. SOEs benefit from economies of scale and may be favored in certain sectors. The Fiji Broadcasting Company Ltd (FBCL) is exempt from the Media Decree, which governs private media organizations and exposes private media to criminal libel lawsuits. In some sectors, the government has pursued a policy of opening up or deregulating various sectors of the economy.
The government is pursuing public private partnership (PPP) models in energy, aviation infrastructure, and public housing, often seeking technical assistance from development partners including the International Finance Corporation to implement these arrangements and to encourage more private sector participation. The government is in negotiations with a foreign investor to further divest ownership in energy company Energy Fiji Limited (EFL), following its divestment of 20 percent of its shares in EFL to Fiji’s pension fund, the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) in 2019. Foreign investors are already partnering in public-private partnership arrangements in the health and maritime port sectors. In 2018, the government signed the first public private partnership agreement in the medical sector with Fiji’s pension fund and an Australian company to develop, upgrade, and operate the Ba and Lautoka hospitals, the country’s two major hospitals in the western region. The PPP arrangements are on hold to July 2021 due to COVID-19 related disruptions to travel restrictions and supply chain management. The Ministry of Economy publishes these opportunities as Tenders or Expressions of Interest (http://www.economy.gov.fj/).
8. Responsible Business Conduct
Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) is increasingly promoted, and the government has included legal provisions to protect the environment, consumers, human rights, and labor rights, although its monitoring and enforcement of RBC is mixed. The media, civil society organizations, and labor unions play active roles in promoting RBC. In 2019, a foreign-owned tourism development project was cancelled after the media highlighted extensive environmental degradation by the project developers.
Department of State
- Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (https://www.state.gov/reports-bureau-of-democracy-human-rights-and-labor/country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/);
- Trafficking in Persons Report (https://www.state.gov/trafficking-in-persons-report/);
- Guidance on Implementing the “UN Guiding Principles” for Transactions Linked to Foreign Government End-Users for Products or Services with Surveillance Capabilities (https://www.state.gov/key-topics-bureau-of-democracy-human-rights-and-labor/due-diligence-guidance/) and;
- North Korea Sanctions & Enforcement Actions Advisory (https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/dprk_supplychain_advisory_07232018.pdf)
Department of Labor
- Findings on the Worst forms of Child Labor Report (https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab/resources/reports/child-labor/findings ) and;
- List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor (https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab/reports/child-labor/list-of-goods).
- Sweat & Toil: Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking Around the World (https://www.dol.gov/general/apps/ilab) and;
- Comply Chain (https://www.dol.gov/ilab/complychain/).
The legal code provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, but the government does not implement the law effectively. The government established the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC), which has broad powers of investigation. FICAC’s public service announcements encouraging citizens to report corrupt government activities have had some effect on systemic corruption. The government adequately funded FICAC, but some observers questioned its independence and viewed some of its high-profile prosecutions as politically motivated. The media publishes articles on FICAC investigations into abuse of office, and anonymous blogs report on government corruption. However, Fiji’s relatively small population and limited circles of power often lead to personal relationships playing a major role in business and government decisions. Fiji acceded to the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2008.
Resources to Report Corruption
Mr. Rashmi Aslam
Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC)
P.O. Box 2335, Government Buildings, Suva, FIJI
TELEPHONE: (679) 3310290
EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
10. Political and Security Environment
As part of COVID-19 precautions, Fiji enforces a nationwide overnight curfew. The country held general elections in November 2018 and international observers deemed elections credible. Although civil unrest is uncommon, the Public Order Act restricts freedoms of speech, assembly, and movement to preserve public order. The Online Safety law may also restrict free speech in the digital space. In 2020, there were reports that authorities used the POA’s wide provisions to restrict freedom of expression and of association, and defamation lawsuits filed against political opponents for posting comments critical of the government on social media.
11. Labor Policies and Practices
Labor market conditions in 2020 deteriorated due to the impact of COVID-19 on international travel and border closures. The decline in the tourism industry resulted in an estimated 115,000 Fijians unemployed. As of November 2020, 177,000 Fijians had accessed unemployment support through the Fiji National Provident Fund. In response to the health crisis the government passed into law the Employment Relations (Amendment) Act 2020 to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under the definition of ‘act of God’, targets at helping business to address difficulties in maintaining the employment of workers.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that Fiji’s labor force in 2020 was 362,135. Education is compulsory until age 17, with male and female students in Fiji achieving largely the same level of education. Fiji continues to face acute labor shortages in a broad range of fields, including the medical, management, engineering, and financial sectors, and increasingly, competent trade-skilled people in the construction, electrical and plumbing trades. Fiji participates in the Australian Pacific Labor Scheme, with an estimated 564 Fijians employed in meat works, hospital, accommodation and aged care sectors since February 2021.
The Ministry of Employment, Productivity, and Industrial Relations has responsibility for the administration of labor laws and the encouragement of good labor relations. The Employment Relations (Amendment) Act of 2016 restored the 2007 Employment Relations Promulgation (ERP) as the primary basis for the right of workers to join trade unions. Trade unions are independent of the government. The ERP prohibits forced labor, discrimination in employment based on ethnicity, gender, and other prohibited grounds, and stipulates equal remuneration for work of equal value. There are workplace safety laws and regulations, and safety standards apply equally to both citizens and foreign workers. The national minimum wage rate is USD 1.31 (FJD 2.68).
12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Other Investment Insurance and Development Finance Programs
The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) provides investment insurance in Fiji for qualified applicants, including political risk insurance and loans. The risks of currency convertibility are safeguarded under Fiji’s foreign exchange regulations. Fiji is a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.
13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics
|Host Country Statistical source*||USG or international statistical source||USG or International Source of Data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other|
|Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD)||2019||5,536.9||2019||5,496.3||www.worldbank.org/en/country|
|Foreign Direct Investment||Host Country Statistical source*||USG or international statistical source||USG or international Source of data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other|
|U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions)||2019||108.1||2017||153||BEA data available at
|Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions)||2019||N/A||2019||$0||BEA data available at
|Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP||2019||94%||2019||94.6%||UNCTAD data available at
* Source for Host Country Data: Fiji Bureau of Statistics data available at https://www.statsfiji.gov.fj/index.php/statistics/economic-statistics/balance-of-payments
Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
The data from IMF’s Coordinated Direct Investment Survey (CDIS) is consistent with host country data by Fiji’s national statistics office, the Fiji Bureau of Statistics. No data was available on outward direct investment in the United States.
|Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data|
|From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)|
|Inward Direct Investment (2019)||Outward Direct Investment|
|Total Inward||5,171||100%||Total Outward||N/A||100%|
|Papua New Guinea||533||10%|
|“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.|
Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment
Data from the IMF’s Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey (CPIS) site is consistent with Fiji’s Bureau of Statistics.
|Portfolio Investment Assets|
|Top Five Partners (Millions, current US Dollars)|
|Total||Equity Securities||Total Debt Securities|
|All Countries||5,171||100%||All Countries||5,067||100%||All Countries||104||100%|
|Papua New Guinea||533||10%||France||376||7%||China PRC||16||15.4%|
|France||376||7%||Papua New Guinea||533||7%||Luxembourg||14||13.5%|
|United Kingdom||247||5%||United Kingdom||208||4%||United States||9||8.7%|
14. Contact for More Information
U.S. Embassy Suva
158 Princes Road, Tamavua
P. O. Box 218