Presentation

France and Fiji islands

Political relations

France has trusting and solid relations with Fiji and is a geographic neighbour on account of its Pacific territories.

The New Caledonian Armed Forces were the first to re-establish their operational cooperation with Fiji during the visit of their High Commander, General Luc de Revel, in October 2014. The Division General Phillippe Léonard made his first official visit to Fiji on 14-16 September 2016 when Vendémiaire surveillance frigate stopped in Suva. The Prime Minister (and retired Admiral), Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama hailed the Croix du Sud 2016 exercise in which Fijian military forces (RFMF) participated.

After Cyclone Winston hit on 20 and 21 February 2016, France intervened under the FRANZ Agreements of which it ensured the presidency. As is the case each time it is provided, this assistance was appreciated by the Fijian authorities and showed the complementarity of the French system compared with the resources provided by its Australian and New Zealand partners.

Prime Minister Bainimarama visited Paris for the 4th France-Oceania Summit on 26 November 2015. He also travelled to Paris to attend the COP21 on 30 November 2015. Following the Fijian Parliament’s unanimous vote on 11 February 2016, the Republic of Fiji was the first country in the world to ratify the Paris Agreement. Prime Minister Bainimarama travelled to New York to sign the Agreement on 22 April 2016.

He finally welcomed the admission of New Caledonia and French Polynesia into the Pacific Islands Forum and wanted the Forum to open up to all of its Pacific neighbours.

The bilateral relationship was also strengthened recently with the visit of the France-Vanuatu Friendship Group of the French Senate conducted by its president, Senator Catherine Procaccia in September 2016, on the topic of climate change. This visit was immediately followed by Fijian Parliament President Jiko Luveni’s visit in December 2016.

On 13 January 2017, Inia Seruiratu, member of the Fijian Government in charge of preparing COP23 was in Paris and met with officials working in Private Office of the Environment Minister.

France and the United Kingdom are the only EU Member States with embassies in Fiji.. They carry out European cooperation meetings in collaboration with the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific.

Economic relations

Economic relations between France and Fiji are growing stronger with the presence of several French companies in the country, either though permanent offices (Total, Pacific Petroleum, Bred, Bolloré Logistics, Accor), or with the development of business (with Thalès, Alcatel, Vergnet, Airbus, ATR and Schneider Electric). To date, Accor group has four sites in the country and is continuing to invest. In the oil supply sector, Total and Pacific Energy (a company with capital from New Caledonia and Polynesia) have a major share of the market.

In 2013, the Fijian flag carrier, Fiji Airways, took delivery of three Airbus A330s and signed a maintenance contract with AirFrance Industries for the three planes. In 2014, Fiji’s domestic airline, Fiji Link, was delivered three ATR 42-600s and a fourth Airbus A330-300 on 29 December 2015.

Boosted by these contracts, French exports to Fiji increased by 181.9% to €130 million in 2015. French imports from Fiji, traditionally extremely limited and mainly made up of products from agrifood industries and agricultural, forestry, fishing and aquaculture products are under €1 million. Trade between France and Fiji remain structurally very positive for France with a trade surplus of €129.2 million in 2015.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

The priorities of our bilateral cooperation are promoting the French language and linguistic issues, professional training, scientific discussions based around major issues in Oceania, such as climate change, environmental protection, the development of renewable energies and the promotion of cultural heritage.

Scientific and academic cooperation strengthens ties between Fiji and French territorial communities in the Pacific. The University of the South Pacific, Fiji National University, the University of New Caledonia, French Polynesia and our research institutes in the Pacific – IRD, Pasteur, Malardé, CRIOBE – conduct joint cooperation projects in the area of climate change and Oceanian culture. The Alliance Française, the UPS and schools from French territories in the Pacific are pursuing an active policy to promote the French language and culture. Several institutions from New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna are offering their students work placements in Fiji.

Updated: 21 February 2017

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