More information about Fiji is available on the Fiji country page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Fiji in 1971, following its independence from the United Kingdom. Fiji and the United States have traditionally maintained good relations. The two countries share a multi-ethnic heritage and a record of close cooperation on international peacekeeping operations, regional security, environmental issues including climate change, and economic development. The U.S. Peace Corps has been active in Fiji from 1968 to 1998 and 2003 to the present, with a total of more than 2,558 volunteers serving in country.
In September 2014, Fiji held elections that restored a democratically elected government and parliament to Fiji for the first time since the 2006 coup. A. After the 2014 elections, which a multinational observer group assessed to be free, fair, and broadly representative of the will of the Fijian people, the United States reinitiated security assistance and lifted restrictions on U.S. financing assistance to the Government of Fiji that had been put in place following the 2006 coup. Fiji again held national elections in 2018, which international observers deemed free and fair.
U.S. Assistance to Fiji
The Department of State’s Bureau for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) funds several grants and interagency agreements that provide support for early warning systems and national adaptation planning in Fiji as part of Pacific Island regional programs. This includes foundational support for the Local2030 Islands Network, of which Fiji is a founding member, to launch communities of practice and technical assistance for island-led solutions to sustainable development challenges.
OES supports the work of a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Climate Fellow embedded at the Ministry of Forestry to enhance forest and land management, conservation, and restoration efforts in Fiji. USFS Climate fellows provide in-depth support focused on natural climate solutions, including Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) of forest and land greenhouse gas (GHG) measurement, as well as accurate and transparent GHG reporting under international frameworks. OES also funds the USFS-administered Pacific Islands Forest Restoration Initiative (PIFRI), which has provided small grants and technical assistance to partner organizations in Fiji and other Pacific Islands to restore mangrove and terrestrial forests as a means of increasing carbon sequestration and reducing GHG emissions. These projects also have promoted community resilience to natural hazards, biodiversity conservation, income generation for communities, youth education, and women empowerment.
USAID funds regional projects that assist communities in addressing climate change through accessing financing, building institutional capacity, and increasing adaptive capacities. The Climate Ready project (2016-2022) supports climate finance and management capacity by working with government partners and stakeholders to draft and implement policies to achieve adaptation goals; access larger amounts of financing from international adaption funds; and improve the skills and systems within each country to better manage and monitor adaption projects. With the Pacific Community (SPC), the Institutional Strengthening in Pacific Island Countries to Adapt to Climate Change project (ISACC, 2015-2022) is amplifying government capacity to manage climate finances more successfully and supporting the scale up of successful multi-sectoral projects to improve climate resilience.
USAID, through its partnership with the SPC, is supporting the Fiji Election Office and civil society to conduct voter education and help ensure the 2022 election is accessible to all, including persons with disabilities. USAID is also supporting the work of local organizations to help address violence against women who enter politics and disinformation.
Fiji receives Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to equip its military and participates in the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, which sends Fijian officers and senior enlisted personnel to professional military education and leadership development courses in the United States. The United States contributes U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy air assets to regional Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) operations that help Fiji protect earnings from fishing licenses in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). In 2019, Fiji signed an expanded maritime law enforcement agreement with the United States to improve regional security and combat illicit transnational maritime activity, including the prevention of the trafficking of illicit narcotics or weapons of mass destruction. The maritime law enforcement agreement includes provisions for protecting living marine resources and preventing illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and/or illegal entry into/out of Fiji. The shiprider provision of the maritime law enforcement agreement permits Fijian shipriders to embark on U.S. surface and air assets, further enhancing the United States’ authority to efficiently and effectively authorize U.S. assets to conduct a variety of law enforcement operations. Additionally, Fiji is a regular participant in U.S. Indo-Pacific Command sponsored workshops on humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, maritime security, peacekeeping, and international humanitarian law.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States has been among Fiji’s principal trading partners. The main products imported to the United States from Fiji include bottled water, tuna, and sugar. U.S. exports to Fiji are mainly machinery, transport equipment, and food. Fiji and the United States do not have a bilateral investment agreement. Tourism and remittances, including from the United States, contribute significantly to the Fijian economy, though the tourism sector contracted significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fiji is a party to the South Pacific Tuna Treaty, which provides access for U.S. vessels to fish in waters under the jurisdiction of Pacific Island parties in exchange for a license fee from the U.S. industry. Under a separate Economic Assistance Agreement associated with the Treaty, the United States government currently provides $21 million per year to Pacific Island Parties.
Fiji’s Membership in International Organizations
Fiji and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the World Trade Organization, the Pacific Community (SPC), and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP). Fiji also belongs to the Pacific Islands Forum, of which the United States is a Dialogue Partner.
Fijians participate in academic and professional exchanges administered by U.S. Embassy Suva’s Public Diplomacy Section, including Fulbright, Humphrey, International Visitors Leadership (IVLP), the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), as well as a wide range of media, cultural, educational, and small grants programs.
More than 650 Fijians are alumni of USG-sponsored exchange programs, including approximately 320 IVLP alumni. Virtual exchange programs continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including IVLP projects to promote climate resilience, environmental advocacy, and public health leadership in the Pacific. The U.S.-South Pacific Scholarship Program also continued in-person programming throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and has provided opportunities for 24 undergraduate and graduate students from Fiji since 1994 to study in the United States to study subjects including Computer Science, Marine Science, and Ocean and Resources Engineering. The AWE program empowers hundreds of Fijian women with the knowledge, networks and access they need to launch and scale a business, learning from U.S. experts. Fiji also actively participates in the Young Pacific Leaders program, which since 2013 has worked to strengthen linkages between emerging leaders from Pacific Island countries and the United States. The Embassy maintains public outreach through the American Center at the chancery in Suva and an American Corner in Lautoka.
Principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
More information about Fiji is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here: