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The Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Local Government, Housing and Community Development Honorable Premila Kumar met with the newly appointed High Commissioner of India to Fiji H.E Padmaja and the Korea Ambassador to Fiji, H.E Cho Shin-hee earlier this week.  

While receiving the High Commissioner, Honorable Kumar congratulated H.E Padmaja on her new appointment and acknowledged the importance India places on Fiji and the region.

The Minister also thanked the Indian Government for their assistance, especially in empowering the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Fiji. Hon. Kumar also thanked the former Indian High Commissioner HE Vishvas Sapkal for his contribution during his tenure.

In response, the High Commissioner elaborated on the closer, stronger and strategic relationship shared by the two nations and how they could further enhance the existing bond to the next level through collation and collaboration, especially in areas of trade, investment, film production and tourism to name a few.

The High Commissioner added that there is a high demand of Fijian products such as mineral water and cosmetics in India and Fiji is the preferred tourism destination for most newly married couples and young people.

With regards to traditional and contemporary art work, H. E Padmaja strongly encouraged the sharing and exchanging of knowledge and expertise between Fiji and India. The High Commissioner stated that India would be able to send a group of artists to come and showcase their artwork in Fiji. Fiji on the other hand, should do the same, as this would also provide the opportunity to learn and understand each other’s culture and tradition.

The High Commissioner reiterated that there is high potential in strengthening the two countries’ trade relations and she would ensure that is does eventuate and taken to another new level.

Further discussed were areas of cooperation in various sectors such as agriculture, technical expertise, capacity building, culture and heritage.

In receiving the Korean Ambassador to Fiji H.E Cho Shin-hee, the Minister suggested the consideration of a preferential trade agreement between Fiji and Korea- after the exploratory studies were undertaken.

Hon. Kumar added that this would enable preferential access of certain Fijian products such as organic ginger, cosmetic and mineral water to enter the Korean market and to minimize trade deficit.

The Minister also requested the Korean Government’s support on Fiji’s quest of a position in Executive Council in the Commission of East Asia and the Pacific – Commission of South Asia (CAP – CSA).

Whilst responding, H.E Cho Shin-hee stated the potential of having enhanced economic relations between the two countries. The Ambassador also informed the Minister of the Korean Government’s upcoming promotional project, which is the Korea and South Pacific pilot project. The project which will be funded by the Korean Government would include seminars, workshops and expos within Korea and the South Pacific region. A total of $1m has been allocated for this project.

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