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COOK ISLANDS 5 STAR HOTEL DECISION SOON

The long-awaited Vaimaanga hotel project could go ahead if landowner Pa Ariki agrees to more time being given to Wellington property developer Tim Tepaki. This follows some three months of planning. The Tepaki Group is having talks this weekend with Pa Ariki aimed at stage two of a plan to set up two five-star hotels, one in Aitutaki to be known as the Captain Cook Hilton Lagoon Resort, and the ill-starred Sheraton/Vaimaanga Hotel on Rarotonga to be called the Royal Takitumu Hilton.The $50 million investment would change the existing design to incorporate an artificial islet (motu) and would increase the existing beach size by 70 per cent to come right up to the accommodation units. The Tepaki Group is offering to eliminate the $55 million debt owed to the original Italian financiers of the Sheraton project. The brain child of then prime minister, Sir Geoffrey Henry, the 1990s scheme to build a five-star hotel was notorious for its large scale expenditure which left only an empty shell of buildings. The project, known locally as Geoffrey's Folly, has lain fallow since the early 1990s despite numerous attempts to revive it.

[Source: Tuatua-tika, Cook Islands - April 20 2003]


TONGA PASIFIKI 2003 TRADE FAIR

15-17 May, 2003. The Pasifiki 2003 Trade Fair will be the fourth successive trade fair held in the Kingdom of Tonga. The theme for 2003 will be exporting the 'livelihood of Tonga'. Tonga Trade will promote the Exporter of the Year Awards. We would hope to see that theme further developed and taken out to the world. Recent global events in the war on terrorism may daunt the doubting, but they also challenge us to "do it ourselves" and, having done that, to 'get out and sell it'.

[Source: Tonga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. - January 2003]


SAMOA GOVERNMENT EXPORT GUARANTEE SCHEME

Cabinet has approved the establishment of a Government Export Guarantee Scheme (GEGS). The Scheme aims to boost exports by issuing Export Finance Guarantees (EFGs) as collateral to enable eligible exporters to obtain short-term finance (working capital) from the local commercial banks and the Development Bank of Samoa to prepare confirmed export orders. In addition, the insurance policy requirement of the scheme should strengthen the confidence of exporting existing products to new lucrative markets overseas.

Initially, the scheme shall apply to the export of goods only. Eventually, it is envisaged that as the GEGS Fund System develop, the scheme will be expanded to cover the export of services as well.

A special GEGS Committee has been appointed by Government to oversee the implementation of the scheme. A special GEGS Unit has also been established within the Department of Trade, Commerce & Industry to handle the day-to-day operations of the scheme. The Unit has the authority to approve EFGs of up to SAT10,000.00. EFGs in excess of SAT10,000.00 that the Unit considers worthy of support shall be referred to the GEGS Committee for approval. The Committee shall meet to consider these applications once a week (if the need arises).

All individuals and companies who wish to benefit from the scheme need to register with the GEGS Committee--through the GEGS Unit. However, only local individuals and those companies that are predominantly owned locally (i.e with a local shareholding of more than 50 percent) are eligible to register under the GEGS.

To give the Unit sufficient time to process and verify the authenticity and credibility of potential users of the scheme, all applications for registration should be lodged with the GEGS Unit at least 14 days prior to lodging an application for an EFG.

For registration, the applicants need to provide authentic documentation to confirm their legal status and existence in Samoa.

For more information regarding the scheme, please contact the Industry Development Unit of the Department of Trade, Commerce and Industry.


[Source: Samoa Trade & Investment News Bulleting - July-August 2002]


NEW CALEDONIA FIRST ASSESSMENT FOR PNC FISHERY PECHERIES DE NOUVELLE CALEDONIE (Premier bilan pour les 'Pêcheries de Nouvelle-Calédonie')

North-Province-based fishery, has made a first assessment after operating for one year. The first results are encouraging with fishing volumes reaching the 1,300-ton mark, mainly tuna for export markets. PNC has grown to 10 operating vessels and employs 110 persons, mainly locals. A fleet development and an increase of the onshore processing capacity have been in consideration for the coming years.
[Les 'PECHERIES DE NOUVELLE-CALEDONIE' installées dans le Nord, à KOUMAC, ont dressé un premier bilan après un an d'activités. Ce bilan est positif et les objectifs sont atteints, avec 1300 tonnes sur un an, essentiellement du thon à l'exportation, pour une flotte de 10 bateaux. L'entreprise emploie 110 personnes, avec une main d'ouvre recrutée localement, de façon très majoritaire. Une augmentation de la flotte et de la capacité de l'usine de traitement sont envisagées dans les prochaines années].

[Source: ADECAL Newsletter - April-May-June 2002]


NEW CALEDONIA EXTERNAL TRADE (Echanges commerciaux)

New Caledonia has been developing trade relations with neighbouring countries. Trade missions have been carried out in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Fiji. And, reciprocating the gesture, a delegation of company heads from Fiji, led by their Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, visited New Caledonia. Positive contacts have been initiated.
[La NOUVELLE-CALEDONIE développe ses relations économiques extérieures avec ses proches voisins. Des missions technico-commerciales ont déjà été effectuées en PAPOUASIE-NOUVELLE-GUINEE, au VANUATU et dans les Iles FIDJI. En retour, une délégation de chefs d'entreprises fidjiens, conduite par le Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, a eu lieu en NOUVELLE-CALEDONIE. Des contacts ont été pris de façon très positive].

[Source: ADECAL Newsletter - April-May-June 2002]


NEW CALEDONIA THE FUTURE OF PRONY MINING MASSIF (L'avenir du massif minier de Prony)

A licence authorising exploration of the Prony mining massif - South Province - for nickel resources has been granted to Canadian multinational INCO which is currently developing a smelting plant project, Goro Nickel, in the neighbouring massif. The granting potentially allows INCO to double its initially planned production capacity, thus substantially improving New Caledonia position in the world nickel market.
[Un permis de recherche sur le massif minier de PRONY, dans le Sud, a été attribué à la société canadienne INCO, qui développe déjà le projet d'usine hydrométallurgique de GORO NICKEL, sur un site voisin. Cette attribution pourrait permettre, à terme, de doubler les capacités de production de l'usine, initialement envisagée, ce qui donnerait à la NOUVELLE-CALEDONIE, une position plus déterminante sur le marché du nickel. ]

[Source: ADECAL Newsletter - April-May-June 2002]


COOK ISLANDS PLAN TO CUT IMPORT TAXES

A cost of living review committee will examine the effects of cutting import levies on a wide range of expensive food items specially anomalies which sees some imports like pork products and coconut cream hit with levies of 50 per cent. It will gauge the impact on Government income of lowering levies on items like ice cream which has an import levy of 25 per cent, confectionery (25 per cent), fish (25 per cent), air freighted eggs (50 per cent) and soft drinks and beverages (40 per cent). Levies on imported vegetables will also be reviewed. From December the levy on vegetables is 10 per cent. That rises to a high of 25 per cent for the rest of the year - even though some vegetables that are imported are not even grown in the Cook Islands. - May 10

[Source: Tuatua-tika - May 2002]


COOK ISLANDS TAX HAVEN ON PALMERSTON 'UNLIKELY'

Cook Islands High Commissioner to New Zealand, Mr Wilkie Rasmussen, described a proposal by an investor to set up a tax-free haven on Palmerston Island was highly unlikely to succeed. New Zealand businessman William Slocum wrote outlining his plan to the head of the family island council, the Reverend William Marsters. However, Palmerston would have to get approval from the central government on Rarotonga.

[Source: Tuatua-tika - May 2002]


COOK ISLANDS RAKAHANGA FERRY PROJECT SAILS AHEAD

Inter-island trade between Rakahanga and Manihiki will be boosted with the introduction of a new ferry that will operate between the islands. But first, the Rakahanga Island Council will have to agree to take on the ferry's operational responsibility, cost overruns, and future maintenance. The boat, which is expected to cost nearly $150,000, will be acquired and operated by the Rakahanga Island Council with funding under the Outer Islands Development Grant Fund. Travel between the islands has long been hazardous without a suitable vessel to transport people and goods. Trade over the past few years has increased due to the number of workers and foodstuffs being sought by Manihiki. The devastation from Cyclone Martin in 1997 resulted in a depletion of crops creating a huge demand for cultivated crops from Rakahanga. The Rakahanga ferry project sought a well designed, seaworthy boat, equipped with the necessary safety and navigational equipment and trained crew to minimise the risk of travelling between the islands.

[Source: Govt of Cook Islands website - August 2001]


FIJI ISLANDS BRIERLEY BUYS OUT SHAREHOLDERS AT DENARAU

Brierley Investments Ltd. from Singapore will purchase co-investors interests in Denarau Island that will give the company l00% of the development land remaining and a 50% interest in the Denarau Golf & Racquet Club. Denarau is home to the Sheraton Fiji Resort, the Sheraton Royal Denerau Resort, Sheraton Denarau Villas, and Worldmark by Trendwest, as well as two residential subdivisions, Fairway Palms and Mariners Reach, a championship 18 hole golf course and tennis facility, and a marina and port.

[Source: Fiji Visitors Bureau - July 2001]


COOK ISLANDS STILL A FAVOURITE INVESTMENT DESTINATION

The Cook Islands is still seen as a favourite investment destination according to the third quarterly report compiled by the Development Investment Board on the level of investment inquiries to the Cook Islands.

Results from this quarter were compared to the same quarter last year. The July - Sep 2000 quarter showed a total of 36 inquiries compared to 18 inquiries in the same period in 1999. Of the 36 inquiries received, the highest number of inquiries came from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA with 6 inquiries each. There were also interests from the Bahamas, Pakistan, India, Ireland, Saudi Arabia and Poland. One third of the inquiries received were only general inquiries with main interests on the lifestyle of the Cook Islands and the situation of the economy.

Like the same period last year, there has been a lot of interest by investors in setting up businesses and activities within the Cook Islands Tourism Industry in particular the areas of resort type of accommodation.

All in all, figures on investment inquiries into the Cook Islands is still ascending and the Development Investment Board projects a further increase of inquiries in the year 2001.


[Source: Pulse e-zine (DIB, Cook Islands) - January 2001]


FIJI ISLANDS SOUTHERN CROSS CABLE LAUNCHED IN FIJI

Fiji now has the same communication capabilities as the United States, New Zealand, and Australia with the recent introduction of the Southern Cross Cable into the country.

The optical fibre cable can deliver 120 gigabits per second of fully protected capacity capable of transmitting two full length movies between the United States and New Zealand every second.

It is expected to open up new business opportunities in Fiji including offshore data processing centres.


[Source: Fiji Visitors Bureau - 22 December 2000]


FIJI ISLANDS NEW INVESTMENT PACKAGE SET TO ATTRACT MORE BUSINESS

The Interim Cabinet has given the Ministry of Finance and National Planning guidelines to prepare an investment package. Features that are expected to be included in the new package are:
  • Lowering of corporate tax rate for all taxpayers to be regionally competitive
  • Exempting distributed dividends from any further withholding or income tax to ensure that income tax is taxed once only
  • Investment allowances and accelerated depreciation to allow for more targeted support for sectors and regions
  • Structural review of fiscal duty rates
  • Lowering production input duty

    [Source: Fiji Visitors Bureau - 30 August 2000]


  • FIJI ISLANDS LATEST NEWS ON FIJI TRADE AND INVESTMENTS

    New Section on FTIB website

    The main aim of the Fiji Islands Trade & Investment 'News' section is to keep you updated on the latest developments relating to the Trade and Investment environment in Fiji. Includes information on the latest investments carried out in the country and other policy-related information affecting Trade and Investments in Fiji. While the new page covers the most recent developments, other pages of the FTIB's comprehensive website contain detailed information on Investing in Fiji, Incentives available, Profiles of Industries having the comparative advantage, Trading Information and much more. Click here for more information on FTIB

    [Source: FTIB, August 2000]


    COOK ISLANDS DIB SET TO EXPAND

    May 2000

    The Development Investment Board ("DIB") is finalising its Budget Bid for the 2000/2001 period which will account for three new positions.

    The outputs and demands on the DIB have expanded over the years and the ratio of resources to output has been strained and has resulted in a 'slower' delivery of services to clients. There are plans to employ:

    Policy & Project Coordinator - tasked to create new project and industry profiles for onward distribution to potential investors. Functions will also extend to developing cottage industry projects for Cook Islanders living in the outer islands. Trade and Investment Promotions Officer - tasked to join the marketing team primarily to deal with investor inquiries, facilitate investor negotiations with national bodies, client management, promotions and marketing activities, liaise with international markets, market and product research, lead trade and investment missions to target areas overseas and many more. Administration & Finance Officer - to assist the A & F Manager with administrative and financial management of the DIB. "The Development Investment Board will expand its services and resources according to demand from our clients and stakeholders; and shall be moulded by policy directives and guidelines of the Cook Islands Government. The Cook Islands economy is regaining buoyancy, and foreign investment interest in key growth sectors is growing" states Rohan Ellis CEO-DIB.

    DIB's quick services should be restored once a full team is employed.

    [Source: PULSE, DIB Monthly Newsletter, May 2000]


    FIJI ISLANDS VISITOR FIGURES CONTINUE AT A RECORD PACE

    January 2000 - A Record Month

    A record 30,321 visitors came to Fiji in January. This has been the highest number recorded for January visitor arrivals. This represents a 4.7% increase in visitor arrival from the same period in 1999 when 28,950 visitors came to Fiji.

    Strong growth was experienced from the United States, up 24.3% to 4,542 visitors and from Australia, up 13.1% to 8,877 visitors. Notable increases in visitor arrivals were experienced from Continental Europe, Canada and South Korea.

    Decreases were recorded in visitor arrivals from New Zealand, down 15.6% to 3,051 visitors, United Kingdom, down 10.4% to 3,426 and from the Pacific Islands, down 15.2% to 2,204 visitors.

    [Source: Fiji Visitors Bureau, January 2000]









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