The Republic of Fiji is an economic, transportation, and academic hub of the South Pacific islands, making it an attractive trade and investment option for businesses looking to establish a presence in the region. While the population is just short of one million, Fiji is an upper middle-income country that boasts a well-developed tourism infrastructure that attracted 894,389 tourists in 2019. Fiji welcomes foreign investment and has undertaken economic reforms purported to improve the investment climate. The government’s investment promotion office, Investment Fiji, is responsible for the promotion, regulation, and control of foreign investment. Its online single window clearance system simplifies the registration process and enables online investment license applications.
Although the government has made some progress to improve the investment climate, transparency remains a concern, with foreign investors encountering lengthy and costly bureaucratic delays. The land ownership regulations in Fiji are complex and the Land Sales Act restricts ownership of freehold land inside city or town council boundaries to Fijian citizens. Delays from the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service can slow the remittance of profits and dividends because the tax authority must certify all taxes were paid before money is transferred overseas.
Fiji’s Reserve Bank (RBF) predicts the economy will contract well below its projected 1.7 percent growth in 2020 as a result of the negative impact of COVID-19. In 2019 the economy grew one percent, recording 10 consecutive years of economic expansion. Growth in 2019 was driven by growth in the tourism industry and remittances. Growth in tourism, Fiji’s largest foreign exchange earner, remained strong in 2019. Total visitor arrivals reached 894,389 in 2019, and earnings are estimated to have increased three percent over 2018 levels. The number of U.S. visitors increased by 13 percent, with arrivals reaching 96,968 in 2019 and accounting for ten percent of total visitors. The country’s liberal visa requirements allow nationals of over 100 countries to enter Fiji without acquiring a visa in advance. Remittances from Fijians working abroad, a second pillar of the economy, grew by 5.8 percent and totaled USD 265.4 million (FJD 564 million) in 2018. The sugar industry, although a major employer, struggles to modernize since preferential sugar quotas from the European Union ended in 2017. Mineral water, exported mainly to the United States, is Fiji’s largest domestic export. U.S. exports to Fiji declined by 1.7 percent in 2019. Two-way trade between the United States and Fiji totaled approximately USD 349.5 million in 2019.
|TI Corruption Perceptions Index||2019||N/A||http://www.transparency.org/
|World Bank’s Doing Business Report||2020||102 of 190||http://www.doingbusiness.org/
|Global Innovation Index||2019||NA||https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/
|U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions)||2017||$148||https://apps.bea.gov/international/
|World Bank GNI per capita||2017||$9,090||http://data.worldbank.org/