Noni fruit products are seen at a store in Suva, Fiji, Aug. 25, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yongxing)
by Zhang Yongxing
SUVA, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- "Despite this severe situation, our products exported to China continue to grow, which provides many jobs for Fijians during this most difficult time where many people have lost their jobs and companies have reduced manufacture," a letter of thanks from Pure Fiji, a cosmetic producer, said.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has hit hard the world's economy and as a South Pacific island nation, Fiji is also not immune. The Fijian economy is expected to contract by 21.7 percent year-on-year in 2020 mainly due to poor tourism activity and its knock-on effects to the rest sectors of the economy.
For businesses in the island nation, it is no doubt a difficult time now as many of them have laid off employees, reduced working hours or are facing bankruptcy if the COVID-19 pandemic continues in the months to come. For Pure Fiji, however, it is lucky enough because of their strong business connections with China.
Directors of Pure Fiji, Gaetane Austin and Andree Austin therefor have recently sent a letter of thanks to Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Qian Bo for the embassy's support to promote the company's products and its sales in China in recent months.
"We are writing to express our sincere gratitude to your excellency for the embassy's support to boost the visibility and promotion of our products in China. The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on countries around the world and people are confronted by a growing set of challenges," the letter read.
"Despite this severe situation, our products exported to China continue to grow, which provides many jobs for Fijians during this most difficult time where many people have lost their jobs and companies have reduced manufacture."
The two directors also expressed their confidence in the Chinese market and their willingness to participate in the coming third China International Import Expo (CIIE) which will be held in Shanghai in November this year.
"We acknowledge the huge potential and stability of the Chinese market," they said. "This momentum has resulted in us committing to actively participate in the Third China International Import Expo this year, which will give us more opportunities to develop Chinese and international market products."
The Chinese ambassador has written back to Pure Fiji, saying that he is very pleased to learn that the company is expanding its cosmetic market in China and is able to provide many jobs for Fijians during this tough time.
Praising Pure Fiji for its high quality product, Qian said the Chinese Embassy has been all along helping to promote the products both in Fiji and China.
"I am happy that your company is developing more products which are suitable or adaptable for Chinese consumers, in cooperation with the Feiji (Shanghai) Trading Company," he said.
The ambassador also encouraged Pure Fiji to continue taking the advantage of the CIIE and other platforms, and contribute to the China-Fiji trade cooperation.
According to the ambassador, besides Pure Fiji, Frezco, a Fijian beverages company, also thanked the embassy for the good sales of its "Fijian Noni" products in China.
Noni, Fiji's super fruit, has been used for more than 2,000 years as a herbal food for maintaining and restoring good health. Noni juice and other Noni products such Noni tea, Noni capsules and Noni skincare products, have been developed for sales in recent years.
The company said that despite COVID-19, there was little setback for its exports to China in recent months.
"Fijian Noni sales continued growth for 2020 and beyond particularly in China marketplace," the company said.
Qian told Xinhua that despite challenges brought by the pandemic, the Chinese market is still doing well and the the great appreciation from the Fijian companies have both again proved the importance of the Chinese market in the global trade.
"China has a population of 1.4 billion people and is no doubt an irreplaceable growing market in the world. With the rise of the living standard of the Chinese people, China will be able to import more quality goods from the countries like Fiji in the future," he said.
China is willing to work together with the countries like Fiji to fight COVID-19 and seek common development, he added.