Fiji’s biggest 5 exports by value are: mineral and aerated waters; preserved or prepared fish including caviar; sugar; gold; and fuel wood including wood chips and saw dust. Collectively, those 5 export categories represent 62.1% of the total revenues earned by Fiji’s overall exports in 2020.
The latest available country-specific data for 2019 shows that 67.4% of products exported from Fiji were bought by importers in: the United States (22% of the global total), Australia (12.8%), New Zealand (7.3%), Tonga (5.7%), China (3.6%), Japan (3.4%), Vanuatu (2.8%), Samoa (2.7%), Cook Islands (2%), Vietnam (1.9%), Kiribati (1.8%) and Tuvalu (1.5%).
From a continental perspective, 50.7% of Fiji’s total exports by value was delivered to fellow Oceania traders led by Australia and New Zealand while 26.2% was sold to importers in North America. Fiji shipped another 16% worth of goods to Asia.
Smaller percentages went to Europe (6.4%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.6%), and Africa (0.1%).
Given Fiji’s population of 900,000 people, its estimated $621.1 million in 2020 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 2020, 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$144.6 million (23.3% of total exports)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $89.1 million (14.3%)
- Gems, precious metals: $80.6 million (13%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $75.6 million (12.2%)
- Wood: $41.5 million (6.7%)
- Fish: $31.1 million (5%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $25.2 million (4%)
- Vegetables: $19.9 million (3.2%)
- Oil seeds: $17.2 million (2.8%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $16.8 million (2.7%)
Fiji’s top 10 exports accounted for 87.2% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Meat and seafood preparations represents the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 477.4% from 2019 to 2020.
In second place for improving export sales was knitted or crocheted clothing and accessories via a 78.8% gain.
Fiji’s shipments of gems and precious metals posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 55.7%, propelled by higher international sales of gold and coins including legal tender.
The leading decliner among Fiji’s top 10 export categories was fish, thanks to its -71.7% drop year over year.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, mineral or aerated waters represent Fiji’s most valuable exported product at 22.7% of the country’s total. In second place was preserved or prepared fish including caviar (14.2%) trailed by sugar (10.1%), gold (10%), fuel wood, wood chips and sawdust (5.2%), coins including legal tender (2.8%), medicinal plants (2.5%), manioc, artichokes and sweet potatoes (also 2.5%) and molasses (2.1%).
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$134.3 million (Up by 10.9% since 2019)
- Gems, precious metals: $76.8 million (Up by 84.5%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $75.9 million (Up by 1,978%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $68.3 million (Up by 52.3%)
- Wood: $35.3 million (Up by 66.4%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $15.6 million (Up by 27%)
- Oil seeds: $13.8 million (Up by 254.4%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $9.3 million (Reversing a -$536,000 deficit)
- Coffee, tea, spices: $4.4 million (Reversing a -$2.7 million deficit)
- Cereal/milk preparations: $3 million (Down by -85.9%)
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 an estimated -$805.1 million trade deficit for 2020, down by -52.8% from -$1.7 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-$264.9 million (Down by -14% since 2019)
- Machinery including computers: -$104.2 million (Down by -50.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$71.5 million (Down by -18.5%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$70.2 million (Down by -36.4%)
- Vehicles: -$59.1 million (Down by -56.8%)
- Cereals: -$58.9 million (Down by -20.6%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$44.7 million (Up by 37.9%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: -$34.4 million (Down by -25%)
- Iron, steel: -$34.1 million (Down by -9.9%)
- Paper, paper items: -$33.1 million (Down by -25.3%)
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 6% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($10.4 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 6% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 5.9% for 2019. Those metrics suggest a relatively increasing 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 in 2020 was 13.351% in 2020, up from an average 4.5% for 2019 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 August 6, 2021
FlagPictures.org, Flag of Fiji. Accessed on August 6, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 6, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 6, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 6, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 6, 2021
Wikipedia, Fiji. Accessed on August 6, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on August 6, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on August 6, 2021
WorldOMeter, Fiji Population. Accessed on August 6, 2021