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Friday 10 June 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in National, Travel


PM explores improved airlink
Prime Minister Mark Brown met with his Fijian counterpart Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama in Suva, Fiji this week. Photo: Supplied/22060902

Cook Islands and Fiji leaders have committed to bolster economic co-operation by working to improve transport links, streamlining labour mobility processes and supporting trade and investment growth during a meeting this week.

Prime Minister Mark Brown met with his Fijian counterpart Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama this week for high level discussions in Suva, Fiji.

The meeting builds on notable increases in Cook Islands imports of Fijian products pre-Covid including building materials and a growing range of food products and a notable community of Fijian nationals working in the Cook Islands hospitality and construction sectors.

Cook Islands officials visiting Fiji also engaged with Fiji Airways to explore improved airlink opportunities between the two countries as well as from markets beyond including the Northern Hemisphere, New Zealand and Australia.

According to a statement, PM Brown was able to meet with Fiji Airways executives at Nadi International Airport on his departure from Fiji earlier this week.

“I had a very positive meeting with Prime Minister Bainimarama this week, and we have together instructed our officials to prioritise formalisation of an expanded bilateral partnership agreement before the end of the year to support expanded transport links, streamlining labour mobility processes, trade and investment growth, education and professional development and stronger people to people ties,” Brown said.

“Prior to Covid we had experienced significant increases in imports from Fiji and steady growth in workers coming into our hospitality and construction sectors from Fiji – I’m hopeful that together with Prime Minister Bainimarama, we can secure New Zealand support towards our respective Covid recovery endeavours through improvements in visa transit arrangements and fees imposed by New Zealand on Fijian workers travelling to the Cook Islands.” 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann, who also attended the meeting, said: “Fiji continues to present strong offerings towards the Cook Islands economic recovery endeavour in labour, trade, transport, investment and education.”

“This most recent engagement between our two leaders and the official opening of our High Commission in Suva this week bolsters MFAI’s ability to support our business community in their business dealings and recruitment endeavours out of Fiji and sustain engagement in key regional efforts to ensure the security and prosperity of the Cook Islands. 

“Improvements to transport links – air and sea – between the Cook Islands and Fiji will be integral to the bring to fruition the aspirations of both our governments and we will continue to work closely with our domestic stakeholders as well as our Fijian counterparts to progress these. We are already seeing elevated engagement with our High Commission in Suva which is welcomed.”    

Some 700 Fijians presently reside in the Cook Islands, working in the hospitality and construction sector and are contributors to Fiji’s foreign exchange earnings through remittances.


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