An island country in the South Pacific Ocean northeast of New Zealand, the Republic of Fiji shipped an estimated US$622.4 million worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a -30.6% decline since 2015 and a -38.9% downtick from 2018 to 2019.
The latest available country-specific data for 2018 shows that 67.8% of products exported from Fiji were bought by importers in: the United States (18.2% of the global total), Australia (13.3%), New Zealand (6.7%), China (5.9%), Tonga (5.1%), Japan (4.9%), Vanuatu (3%), Samoa (2.4%), Papua New Guinea (2.3%), Tuvalu (2.2%), Kiribati (1.9%) and American Samoa (1.7%).
From a continental perspective, 46.5% of Fiji’s exports by value was delivered to Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand while 18.7% was sold to importers in North America. Fiji shipped another 16.5% worth of goods to Asia. Smaller percentages went to Europe (3.7%), Africa (0.2%), and Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.1%).
Given Fiji’s population of 890,000 people, its total $622.4 million in 2019 exports translates to roughly $700 for every person living in Fiji.
Fiji’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Fijian global shipments during 2019, at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Fiji.
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: US$189.9 million (30.5% of total exports)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $70.9 million (11.4%)
- Gems, precious metals: $52.4 million (8.4%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $50.1 million (8.1%)
- Fish: $43.9 million (7.1%)
- Wood: $34.4 million (5.5%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $32.7 million (5.2%)
- Collector items, art, antiques: $21.8 million (3.5%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $21.6 million (3.5%)
- Vegetables: $18.8 million (3%)
Fiji’s top 10 exports accounted for 86.2% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Collector items, art and antiques represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 155,543% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales was meat and seafood preparations via a 299% gain. Fiji’s shipments of knitted or crocheted clothing and accessories posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 73.2%.
The leading decliner among Fiji’s top 10 export categories was fish thanks to a -58.8% annual drop.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, mineral or aerated waters represent Fiji’s most valuable exported product at 30.2% of the country’s total. In second place was preserved or prepared fish and caviar (11.3%) trailed by gold (8%), sugar (7.3%), fuel wood, wood chips and sawdust (4.3%), antiques over 100 years old (3.5%) and frozen whole fish (2.6%).
The following types of Fijian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: US$172.4 million (Up by 53.2% since 2018)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $44.6 million (Up by 1,060%)
- Gems, precious metals: $43.9 million (Up by 1.1%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $43.5 million (Up by 19.4%)
- Wood: $27 million (Down by -32%)
- Collector items, art, antiques: $19.7 million (Reversing a -$156,000 deficit)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $19.3 million (Up by 21%)
- Fish: $12.4 million (Down by -83.8%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $9.5 million (Up by 433.7%)
- Oil seeds: $8.2 million (Up by 85.5%)
Fiji generated highly positive net exports in the international trade of waters including natural or artificial mineral waters plus aerated waters. In turn, these cashflows indicate Fiji’s strong competitive advantages under the beverages, spirits and vinegar category.
Overall Fiji incurred a -$1.74 billion trade deficit for 2019, up by 1.4% from -$1.72 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Fiji that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Fiji’s goods trail Fijian importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$616.5 million (Up by 71.2% since 2018)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: -$370.3 million (Up by 230.9%)
- Machinery including computers: -$175.8 million (Down by -21.3%)
- Vehicles: -$111.3 million (Down by -49.3%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$93.1 million (Down by -34.7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$82.8 million (Down by -23.9%)
- Cereals: -$48.9 million (Down by -27.5%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$44.5 million (Up by 13.3%)
- Meat: -$43.3 million (Down by -4.5%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: -$41.9 million (Down by -15.9%)
Fiji incurred highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels-related category, notably for refined petroleum oils and petroleum gases.
Fijian Export Companies
Not one Fijian corporation ranks on the Forbes Global 2000 list.
Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Fiji. Selected examples are shown below:
- Dominion Fashions Limited (clothing)
- Falani Marketing Fiji Ltd (agricultural produce, fish)
- Fiji Recyclers (recycled tires)
- Krishna Export Handicraft (wood handicraft)
- Nelesh Kamal Co (kava)
- Organic Earth Fiji (skin care products)
- Popular Furniture Limited (home furniture)
- Scud Timber (Fiji) Ltd (sandalwood)
In macroeconomic terms, Fiji’s total exported goods represent 5.9% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($10.6 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 5.9% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 11.4% for 2018. Those metrics suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Fiji’s total economic performance albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Fiji’s average unemployment rate was 4.5% in 2019 same percentage as one year earlier, per the International Monetary Fund.
Fiji’s capital city is Suva.
See also Australia’s Top 10 Exports, New Zealand’s Top 10 Exports and Top Oceanian Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Australia-Oceania: Fiji. Accessed on June 4, 2020
FlagPictures.org, Flag of Fiji. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 4, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 4, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Wikipedia, Fiji. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 4, 2020
WorldOMeter, Fiji Population. Accessed on June 4, 2020