As President Biden has said, the United States is a Pacific nation and will always be a Pacific nation. The Pacific region remains a foreign policy priority for the United States, and we have deep and longstanding ties to Fiji and the other countries of the Pacific.
Our relationship with Fiji is strong and enduring. The United States established diplomatic relations with Fiji in 1971 and celebrated a 50 year anniversary last year. We have built a solid partnership based on common values and shared historical bonds.
The United States partners with Fiji to address the global challenges that threaten the region’s security and prosperity. We welcome Fiji’s focus on combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the climate crisis, protecting our ocean, and fostering a sustainable economic recovery.
Security Cooperation Brings Regional Peace and Stability
- Fiji is a key security partner in the Pacific. The United States has partnered with the Pacific Islands on regional security since World War II. S. security cooperation activities include training and equipping Fiji’s security forces and joint maritime security initiatives to assist Fiji in its goal of serving as a regional hub for training and excellence.
- A 2018 shiprider agreement with the United States allows Fijian defense and law enforcement personnel to embark on U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels to observe, board, and search vessels suspected of violating laws or regulations within Fiji’s exclusive economic zone or on the high seas. Our shiprider agreements with Fiji and other Pacific Island countries assist the United States and partner nations to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, as well as other illegal activities.
- Under our State Partnership Program, the Nevada National Guard partners with the military forces in Fiji to further our countries’ mutual interests throughout the Indo-Pacific Region.
- Fiji has provided Republic of Fiji Military Forces to peacekeeping operations for more than 40 years. We recognize the important role that thousands of Fijian Forces have played in areas all over the world. The latest deployment to the Solomon Islands in collaboration with the Australian Defence Force is a testament of Fiji’s commitment to the stability of the region.
Building a Healthier and More Prosperous Future Together
- The United States and Fiji are natural partners in the global campaign to tackle the climate crisis. Together we are pushing the world’s major economies to increase their ambitions and further reduce greenhouse gas emissions ahead of COP27 in Egypt this year. We are equally committed to working with Fiji and other Pacific Islands to adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change, including through additional financing for climate adaptation and resilience projects.
- Pacific Island countries are also prime candidates for the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE) initiative announced at COP26, which seeks to provide $3 billion in adaptation finance annually by 2024, the largest U.S. commitment ever made to reduce climate impacts on those most vulnerable to climate change worldwide. Many Pacific Island countries, including Fiji, have signed up for the Global Methane Pledge, which aims to reduce global methane emissions 30 percent by 2030 and is key to keeping the 1.5C degree goal within reach.
- The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) first opened a Pacific Islands regional office in Suva, Fiji in 1978. USAID is honored to work with Fiji as we stand together against climate change and COVID-19, as well as innovate for economic recovery, establish clean technology networks, empower women, and forge robust democratic governance.
- The United States continues to provide assistance to Pacific Island countries experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks. USAID has delivered $44 million to Pacific Island nations to combat COVID-19, including the recently announced American Rescue Plan Act -funded $1.5 million USAID partnership with UNICEF to support Pacific islands with readiness, delivery, and post-delivery monitoring of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as effective public risk communication messaging. In July 2021, the United States provided Fiji 150,080 doses of the Moderna vaccine through the COVAX Facility. The United States has also supported the Pacific through Indo-Pacific Command’s Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid, among other cooperative efforts.
- The United States and Fiji signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in 2020. Two-way goods trade totaled $350 million in 2019, of which $103 million was exports from the United States. The United States is Fiji’s largest export destination.
- Fiji is an active participant in the Young Pacific Leaders Program, a U.S. Department of State initiative that strengthens linkages between emerging leaders across the Pacific and the United States. These relationships between the younger generation of Fijians and other Pacific Island government, civic and business leaders help to harness the extraordinary potential of youth in the region to address critical challenges and expand opportunities.
- Embassy Suva partners with a variety of Fijian organizations to promote prosperity and shared values. The Embassy has awarded more than $300,000 in small grants to boost economic resilience and women’s economic empowerment, and in 2020, also launched the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs to increase women entrepreneurs’ core business and networking skills. The State Department is also providing $200,000 through the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation to the Fiji Museum to digitize their entire collection to preserve an important record of Fiji’s history and culture.
Since 1968, more than 2,500 U.S. citizens have served as Peace Corps volunteers in Fiji. Peace Corps volunteers partner with government and NGO stakeholders to build local capacities and promote sustainable development.