U.S. Department of State
Background Notes: Fiji, May 1996
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs


Prepared and released by the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs,
Office of Pacific Island Affairs

May 1996
Official Name: Republic of Fiji

PROFILE

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective-- Fiji citizen(s)
Population (July 1995 est.): 772,891.
Annual growth rate (1995 est.): 1.16%.
Ethnic groups: Fijian 49%, Indian 46%, others (including mixed-race, 
Europeans, Chinese, and other Pacific Islanders) 5%.
Religions (1990): Christian (52%), Hindu (38%), Muslim (8%) 
Languages: English (official), Fijian,
Hindustani.
Education: Attendance: Primary and Secondary schooling 86%. 
Literacy 87% (1986).
Health: Infant mortality rate (1994 est.): 18.1/1000. Life Expectancy 
(1995 est.): 63 years male, 68 years female.
Labor force (1992): 264,000--Agriculture 59%, Industry 36%.

Geography

Area: 18,376 sq. km. (7,056 sq. mi.); about the size of Massachusetts.
Cities (all on the main island of Viti Levu): Capital--Suva (1986 pop. 
69,665), Lautoka (28,728), Nadi,
Ba, Nausori.
Population Distribution (End-1986 census): Rural: 61.3%, Urban: 
38.7%.
Terrain: Varied.
Climate: Tropical maritime.

Government

Type: Parliamentary democracy.
Independence: October 10, 1970.
Constitution: July 25, 1990.
Branches: Executive--President (chief of state); Prime Minister (head 
of government), Cabinet. Legislative: Parliament: Lower House--70 
elected seats (indigenous Fijians-37, Indians-27, Rotumans-1,
others-5). Senate--34 appointed seats (indigenous Fijians-24, 
Rotumans-1, others-9). Judicial: Magistrates' Courts, High Court, Court 
of Appeals, Supreme Court.
Political parties: Fijian Political Party, Fiji Labour Party, National 
Federation Party, Fijian
Association Party, Fijian Nationalist Party, General Electors 
Association, General Voters Party.
Suffrage: Universal adult.
Administrative subdivisions: 4 divisions, 14 provinces, 1 dependency.
Flag: Light blue with Union k 
sector including cattle, pigs, horses, and goats.
Industry: Sugar refining, tourism, garment manufacturing, gold, 
fishing, lumber, small manufacturing/assembly industries.
Trade (1995): Exports--$869.9 million: sugar, gold, copra and fish. 
Imports--$1218.9 million: fuels, machinery, manufactured goods, 
chemical and food. Major partners: Australia, New Zealand, U.S., 
Japan, Taiwan, Singapore.
Official exchange rate (13 Mar 1996): US$1.00=F$1.41.
Bilateral economic aid received (includes technical assistance): 
Principal bilateral aid donors--Australia (FY92/93 $9.7 million), Japan 
(CY92 $16.2 million), France (CY93 $.4 million--does not include 
attribution from $1.4 million regional assistance), New Zealand 
(FY92/93 $2.8 million), United Kingdom (FY92/93 $2.8 million), 
United States (FY93 $1.5 million).
Multilateral aid donors: UNDP ($3.5 million), other UN ($10.3 
million), IBRD ($5.1 million).
U.S. aid (1996): In September 1994, the U.S. Agency for International 
Development (USAID) closed its regional mission based in Suva. The 
last bilateral aid projects will end in September 1996, although limited 
regional programs including fisheries, environmental protection and 
disaster management will continue to receive USAID support. Fiji has 
benefited from US $25.9 million in USAID assistance since 1977, with 
programs aimed at increasing economic growth through fisheries and 
agriculture, environmental protection, as well as health assistance and 
disaster response. The U.S. bilateral assistance program to Fiji began in 
1986 but was temporarily suspended in May 1987 following a military 
coup. Bilateral funding resumed from December 1988 to 1994.

Membership in International Organizations

UN and several of its specialized and related agencies, World Bank, 
International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, South Pacific 
Forum, South Pacific Commission, Pacific Islands Development 
Program, Asian Development Bank, U.S.-Pacific Island Joint 
Commercial Commission, associate member of Economic and Social 
Commission for Asia and the Pacific, associate member of the 
European Community. A regional institution, the University of the 
South Pacific, is headquartered in Suva, as is the South Pacific Forum 
Secretariat. Fiji was expelled from the Commonwealth when it 
declared itself a republic in October 1987. Fiji's military is a regular 
participant in a variety of UN peacekeeping forces such as UNIFIL, 
MFO and, most recently, UNIKOM. Its police force is to contribute 
personnel to UN operations in the former Yugoslavia.

GEOGRAPHY

Fiji comprises a group of volcanic islands in the South Pacific lying 
about 4,450 kilometers (2,775 mi.) southwest of Honolulu, 2,730 
kilometers (1,700 mi.) northeast of Sydney, Australia, and 1,770 
kilometers (1,100 mi.) north of Auckland, New Zealand. Its 322 islands 
range in size from the 10,388 square kilometers (4,011 sq. mi.) of Viti 
Levu, on which Suva is located, to mere rocks a few square meters in 
area. Just over 100 of the islands are inhabited.

The larger islands are mountainous, some rising abruptly from the 
shore to heights of 1,200 meters (4,000 ft.) or more. On the windward 
(southeastern) side, where rainfall is heavy (up to 304 cm or 120 in. 
annually), the islands are covered with dense, tropical forests. 
Lowlands on the western portions of each of the main islands are 
sheltered by the mountains and have a well-marked dry season 
favorable to crops such as sugar cane.

PEOPLE

More than half of Fiji's population live on the island coasts, either in 
Suva, the capital, or in smaller urban centers. The interior is sparsely 
populated because of its rough terrain.

Indigenous Fijians are a mixture of Polynesian and Melanesian, 
resulting from the original migrations to the South Pacific many 
centuries ago. The Indian population has grown rapidly from the 
60,000 indentured laborers brought from India between 1879 and 1916 
to work in the sugar cane fields. Several thousand Gujaratis from near 
Bombay migrated voluntarily during the 1920's and 1930's; these 
migrants formed the core of Fiji's urban shop-keeping and business 
class. Unlike the native Fijians, who live throughout the country, the 
Indo-Fijians reside primarily near the urban centers and in the cane-
producing areas of the two main islands. A substantial population of 
mixed European/Fijian ancestry is concentrated in the urban centers 
and near Savusavu on Vanua Levu.

Virtually all indigenous Fijians are Christian, 78% of them Methodist. 
Roman Catholics account for about 8.5% of the population; nearly half 
are part European or Chinese. Other Christian denominations in Fiji are 
Anglican, Seventh-Day Adventist, Presbyterian, Mormon and Christian 
Brethren. About 80% of the Indo-Fijians are Hindu, 15% Muslim, and 
the rest mostly Sikh, with a few Christians.

HISTORY

Despite evidence that Fiji has been inhabited for more than 2,500 
years, little is known of its history before the coming of the Europeans. 
In earlier times, the Fiji Islands were known as the "Cannibal Islands"; 
today's Fijians, with their open, friendly ways, bear little resemblance 
to their warlike forebears.

The first known European to sight the Fiji islands was the Dutchman 
Abel Tasman in 1643. European missionaries, whalers, traders, and 
deserters settled during the first half of the 19th century. Their 
corrupting influence caused increasingly serious wars to flare up 
among the native Fijian confederacies. In 1871, the Europeans in Fiji 
(about 2,000) established an administration under Ratu Seru Cakobau, 
who had become paramount chief of eastern Viti Levu some years 
before. Chaos followed until a convention of chiefs ceded Fiji 
unconditionally to the United Kingdom on October 10, 1874.

The pattern of colonialism in Fiji during the following century was 
similar to that in other British possessions: the pacification of the 
countryside, the spread of plantation agriculture, and the introduction 
of Indian indentured labor. Many traditional institutions, including the 
system of communal land ownership, were maintained.

Fiji's revered chief, Ratu Sukuna, fought in the French Foreign Legion 
during the First World War and was highly decorated. Fiji units aided 
British forces in non-combatant roles. Fiji soldiers fought alongside the 
Allies in the Second World War, gaining a fine reputation in the tough 
Solomon Islands campaign. The United States and other Allied 
countries maintained military installations in Fiji during that war, but 
the Japanese did not attack Fiji.

In April 1970, a constitutional conference in London agreed that Fiji 
should become a fully sovereign and independent nation within the 
Commonwealth on October 10, 1970.

In April 1987, the Alliance Party of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, which 
had governed Fiji since independence, lost a general election and was 
replaced by an NFP-Labour Coalition government. The new 
government was headed by Dr. Timoci Bavadra, an ethnic Fijian, with 
most support coming from the ethnic Indian community. On May 14, 
1987, Lt. Col. Sitiveni Rabuka, Chief of Operations of the Royal Fiji 
Military Forces, staged a military coup. Rabuka's stated reasons for the 
coup were to prevent inter-communal violence and to restore the 
political dominance of the ethnic Fijians in their home islands. After a 
period of confusion, Governor-General Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau took 
charge. In September, the Governor-General and the two main political 
groupings reached agreement on a government of national unity (the 
Deuba Accords).

However, Rabuka objected to participation by the deposed Coalition in 
the proposed government and the exclusion of the military from the 
negotiations, and consequently staged a second coup on September 25, 
1987. The military government declared Fiji a republic on October 10. 
This action, coupled with protests by the Government of India, led to 
Fiji's expulsion from the Commonwealth. The military regime was 
unsuccessful in governing and Rabuka voluntarily handed over the 
reins of government to civilians on December 6, 1987. Former 
Governor-General Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau became President. Ratu Sir 
Kamisese Mara was brought back as Prime Minister and formed a 
mostly civilian Cabinet containing four military officers, including 
Rabuka.

In January 1990 the term of the first interim government came to an 
end, and the President announced a second interim government with a 
reduced seventeen-member Cabinet, devoid of active-duty military 
officers. This government promulgated a new Constitution on July 25, 
1990. Rabuka, now a Major-General, returned to the barracks as 
commander of the Fiji Military Forces. In July 1991, Rabuka quit the 
military to become Co-Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home 
Affairs.

A general election in June 1992 returned Fiji to elected government. 
Rabuka was named Prime Minister by President Ganilau. His 
government was dissolved in January 1994 over the inability to pass a 
substantive bill--the FY94 budget. A snap general election was held 
February 18-26, 1994, and Rabuka was again named Prime Minister 
after his party won a near majority of the seats.

GOVERNMENT

The President (chief of state) is appointed by the Great Council of 
Chiefs, a traditional ethnic Fijian leadership body. The President in turn 
appoints the Prime Minister (head of government), who is the ethnic 
Fijian member of parliament who demonstrates he has the support of 
the majority of that body. The parliament's house of representatives has 
70 seats (ethnic Fijians-37, Indo-Fijians-27, Rotumans-1, others-5). 
The Senate has 34 appointed seats (ethnic Fijians-24, Rotumans-1, 
others-9).

Fiji maintains an independent judiciary consisting of a Supreme Court, 
a Court of Appeals, a High Court, and magistrates' courts. Special 
magistrates are being trained and appointed to hear cases involving 
points of ethnic Fijian  customary law. The judiciary remained 
independent throughout the coups and the consequent absence of an 
elected government.

There are four administrative divisions (Central, Eastern, Northern, and 
Western) and one dependency (Rotuma). Each of the four districts is 
under the charge of a commissioner. Ethnic Fijians have their own 
administration which is based on the koro (village). The turaga-ni-koro 
(head of the village), usually nominated by the people, directs the 
village's activities. Several koros are grouped to form a district. Several 
districts form a province. Each of the fourteen provinces and the 
dependency is governed by a council and a roko tui (an administrative 
officer appointed by the central government). The councils deal with 
all matters affecting ethnic Fijians.

Principal Government Officials

President--Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara
Prime Minister--Sitiveni Rabuka
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Filipe Bole
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry--Isimeli Bose
Leader of the Opposition--Jai Ram Reddy
Fiji Head of Mission in the U.S.--Ambassador Pita Kewa Nacuva

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

For 17 years after independence, Fiji was a parliamentary democracy. 
During that time, political life was dominated by Ratu Sir Kamisese 
Mara and the Alliance Party, which combined the traditional Fijian 
chiefly system with leading elements of the European, part-European, 
and Indian communities. The main parliamentary opposition, the 
National Federation Party, represented mainly rural Indians. 
Intercommunal relations were managed without serious confrontation. 
However, when Dr. Bavadra's Coalition democratically installed a 
cabinet with a substantial ethnic Indian representation after the April 
1987 election, extremist elements played on ethnic Fijian fears of 
domination by the Indo-Fijian community. The results were two 
military coups and a racial situation that has remained troubled. Since 
the coup, approximately 35,000 Indo-Fijians have emigrated out of 
Fiji.

One of the main issues of contention is land tenure. About 84% of the 
land in Fiji, much of it not arable, is owned by indigenous Fijians and 
cannot be alienated. It is administered on behalf of village groups 
(mataqalis) by the Native Land Trust Board, an agency of the 
government. Indo-Fijians, who are the major cultivators of sugar, are 
unable to purchase the land they till but must lease it instead. The 
leases have been generally for 10 years, although they are usually 
renewed for two 10-year extensions. Many Indo-Fijians argue that 
these terms do not provide them with adequate security and have 
pressed for renewable 30-year leases. Land tenure provisions are 
currently under review with the majority of leases due to expire 
between now and the year 2000.

Many ethnic Fijians feared that the Bavadra government would have 
eroded their control over the land. This was and is a highly emotional 
issue, as Fijians identify themselves with the land to a degree that most 
Westerners find difficult to understand. Fijians consider themselves 
members of the "vanua," a concept that encompasses the people of a 
given area, their chiefs, and the land on which they live. The word 
"vanua" is variously translated as "land," "community," or 
"confederacy of chiefdoms" according to context, but the concept is 
indivisible.

The unelected interim government, without the approval of a national 
referendum, promulgated a new constitution on July 25, 1990. It 
provides indigenous Fijians 37 of the 70 seats in the elected lower 
house of Parliament with the ethnic Indians accorded 27 seats, 
Rotumans (culturally distinct Polynesians) one, and other races allotted 
five. In the Senate, an appointed body with essentially review powers 
and the right to veto legislation, indigenous Fijians hold 24 of 34 seats, 
Rotumans one and other groups nine. The new constitution also 
includes a detailed bill of rights, but gives the Parliament wide powers 
to overrule guarantees of basic freedoms in the event of a perceived 
threat to national security.

The President is selected by the Great Council of Chiefs, a traditional 
Fijian leadership body, as are most of the ethnic Fijian members of the 
Senate. The Prime Minister, who along with the Cabinet, holds most 
executive authority, is chosen by the President from among the ethnic 
Fijian members of the lower house.

Elections are held by secret ballot, with voting only by racial 
constituencies. This latter aspect is a significant change from the 1970 
constitution, which provided for a complex system of cross-voting, 
allowing Indo-Fijians a say in the selection of some ethnic Fijians and 
vice versa. The Constitution calls for elections every five years, but the 
Government may call an election at any time. A snap general election 
was held in February 1994, after the Rabuka government fell over its 
inability to pass the 1994 budget. Rabuka and his Fijian Political Party 
were returned to parliament as the dominant party in that election.

Two of the opposition parties, the National Federation Party and the 
Fiji Labour Party, are strongly opposed to the lack of proportional 
parliamentary representation for all races. The constitution contains 
provisions for its review by 1997 (seven years after promulgation). A 
deliberation process, begun in an expanded sub-Cabinet committee in 
1993, led to the creation of an independent three person constitutional 
review commission in June 1995. Headed by New Zealand's Sir Paul 
Reeves, the commission is to deliver its recommendations to 
Parliament on the constitution in mid-1996. Parliament will then 
consider the Commission report as part of its own deliberations for 
reviewing the constitution, which should conclude by mid-1997.

Prior to the 1987 coups, Fiji was often cited as a model of human rights 
and multiracial democracy. Even through the coup period, a certain 
degree of restraint prevailed as no one was killed in either coup.

The Indo-Fijian parties' major voting bloc is made up of sugar cane 
farmers. The farmers' main tool of influence has been their ability to 
galvanize widespread boycotts of the sugar industry, thereby crippling 
the economy. In 1991, a Coalition of the National Federation Party and 
Fijian Labour Party, along with the Fiji Trades Union Congress and the 
National Farmers Union led a seven-week long boycott of the sugar 
cane harvest. It was not until then Major General Rabuka stepped in as 
a mediating force between the Government and the farmers that the 
crisis was resolved. Following this, the Major General resigned as 
commander of the Fiji Military Forces and stepped into a government 
position as Co-Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs.

ECONOMY

In general, government economic policy promotes private enterprise 
with strong emphasis on export-oriented industries. The government is 
in the process of privatizing certain government functions such as the 
telephone company. The government owns and/or controls some major 
servicing and trading entities, including the Civil Aviation Authority of 
Fiji, National Bank of Fiji, Ika Corporation (fishing) and the Fiji Sugar 
Corporation (FSC). The FSC handles the milling of all sugar cane 
produced in Fiji.

Agriculture is the mainstay of Fiji's economy. Sixty-seven percent of 
the active labor force is employed in subsistence agriculture. Such 
activities cushion the effect of fluctuating export earnings, especially 
during periods of falling prices for major export commodities, such as 
sugar. Sugar accounted for approximately 33% of total exports in 1993, 
providing 15% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and engaging 
about one-fifth (22,000) of total households in Fiji. In addition, an 
estimated 18,000 cane cutters are employed during harvest time and the 
Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) employs 3,000 persons in sugar 
processing and marketing activities.

Tourism has gained in importance since the mid-1960's and, despite a 
brief drop after the 1987 coups, now contributes significantly to the 
economy. Total visitor arrivals in 1993 were 287,462. Australians 
accounted for 27% of total visitor arrivals in 1993, followed by the 
U.S., New Zealand and Europe. During 1993, 42,557 U.S. visitors 
arrived in Fiji. Gross foreign exchange earnings from tourism replaced 
sugar as Fiji's major foreign earner, rising to USD 244 million in 1993, 
with projections reaching USD 250 million by 1994.

Various policy reforms have been implemented by the government to 
revitalize the economy of Fiji following the economic recession 
experienced immediately after the coups of 1987. These include the 
deregulation of the economy and the introduction of incentive 
measures geared at the private sector in the form of tax free zones and 
tax free factories to boost foreign investment.

New projects in recent years have included a growing garment 
industry, a wood chips mill, a distillery and several food processing 
factories.  The garment industry, which has taken advantage of tax 
incentives and duty free entry to the Australia and New Zealand 
market, has grown rapidly since 1988 and now employs as many as 
10,000 workers. Exports rose to USD 86.4 million in 1993. The 
government encourages local and foreign investment to promote 
industrial development and provide employment. The production and 
export of copra has declined and has been overtaken by the export of 
gold and marine products.  Coconut oil earnings for 1993 were $2.5 
million while receipts from gold and marine products were $45.0 
million and $21.1 million, respectively.

The export share of forestry products is expected to increase as 
harvesting of the country's plantations of Caribbean pine is intensified. 
Timber earnings in 1993 amounted to USD 8.6 million.

In nearly all factors of production, Fiji is a well-endowed country, 
albeit with certain problems still in need of development solutions. The 
labor force is well-educated, with relatively good productivity and 
reasonable wage rates. Per capita income is twice that of most other 
countries in the region. The country's location and trade agreements 
(SPARTECA, Lome Convention) are generally regarded as assets. The 
government business policy framework is generally regarded as good. 
The land is productive, despite unrealized potential due to the land 
tenure system.

DEFENSE

The Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) is an integrated, infantry-
dominated force whose primary mission is to provide a credible 
deterrence and to protect Fiji's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The 
RFMF currently consists of approximately 4,100 active duty personnel 
and approximately 10,000 territorial reservists. The RFMF is 
commanded by Brigadier General Ratu Epeli Ganilau. 
Organizationally, the RFMF consists of eight Fiji light infantry 
regiments (FIRs) and a naval division.

When deployed, a regiment would have three to four independent 
companies, a special forces unit, engineer, logistics, maintenance, and 
training units. Two of the infantry battalions are deployed to the 
Middle East in support of United Nations peacekeeping missions 
(UNIFIL in Lebanon and the Multi-national Force of Observers in the 
Sinai), and a third (the 3rd FIR) is headquartered at Queen Elizabeth 
Barracks near Suva. The independent companies from the 3rd FIR are 
located at Nadi, Lautoka, Nausori, and Labasa.

The RFMF's naval division, headquartered at Walu Bay, Suva, with 
some 300 personnel, is responsible for enforcing Fiji's maritime-related 
laws of fisheries, customs, quarantine and immigration within Fiji's 
territorial waters and its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone. The naval 
division currently consists of two coastal patrol craft purchased from a 
U.S. manufacturer in 1987, four ex-Israeli Dabur-class coastal patrol 
craft which were built in the mid-1970's and acquired by the RFMF in 
1991, and three newer Pacific-class patrol boats which were donated by 
Australia in 1994 and 1995.

Following the 1987 coups, the governments of Australia, New Zealand 
and the United States officially suspended defense cooperation and 
military assistance arrangements with Fiji. By the end of 1993, 
Australia and New Zealand had resumed cooperation; the United States 
has not. Since the coups, RFMF personnel have received training in 
Malaysia, Pakistan, France, England, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand 
and Israel. The RFMF also opened its own company-grade officer 
training school in 1989.

Fiji also has a separate police force of some 2000 personnel, including 
administrative and support elements. Police Commissioner Isikia 
Savua, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, has been in charge of Fiji's 
police force since March 1994. The military and police force are both 
under the Ministry of Home Affairs portfolio.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Fiji maintains an independent, but generally pro-Western, foreign 
policy. It has traditionally had close relations with major trading 
partners Australia and New Zealand, although those relations cooled 
somewhat in the post-coup period. The interim government was 
offended by those countries' public criticism of its policies and the 
1990 constitution. Relations with India have also declined markedly, 
punctuated by the expulsion of the Indian Ambassador in late 1989 and 
the forced closure of the Indian Embassy in Suva in 1990. Fiji has 
worked to build closer ties with Southeast Asia, Japan, and France in 
order to diversify its trading patterns and sources of assistance.

Since independence, Fiji has been a leader in the South Pacific region. 
While Fiji has taken a less active role in regional affairs since the 1987 
coups, regional governments have generally been sympathetic, 
declining to take a position on Fiji's internal political problems. The 
South Pacific Forum heads of government rebuffed efforts by Fiji's 
Indo-Fijian politicians to involve the Forum in the Fiji domestic 
situation.

Fiji became the 127th UN member on October 13, 1970. It participates 
actively in the United Nations and its specialized agencies, some of 
which maintain offices in Suva. Fiji's contributions to peacekeeping in 
the Middle East and Africa are unique for a nation of its size. Fiji 
maintains a 600-man battalion with the UN forces in Lebanon and a 
400-man battalion in the Multinational Force of Observers in the Sinai. 
In addition, Fiji has sent police detachments and/or officer observers 
under UN auspices to Namibia, Chad, Afghanistan, the Iraq-Kuwait 
border, and Cambodia. Fiji has indicated it will contribute police 
personnel to UN operations in the former Yugoslavia.

Fiji has embassies or consulates in London, Brussels, Tokyo, 
Washington, Canberra, Wellington, Kuala Lumpur and Papua New 
Guinea, and an ambassadorial-level mission to the UN.

There are no restrictions on freedom of movement within the country 
or abroad. Fiji citizens are free to emigrate. About 40,000 have done so 
since May 1987. Most of the emigrants are Indo-Fijians, many of them 
professionals.

U.S.-FIJI RELATIONS

Fiji and the United States enjoy excellent relations. Then Prime 
Minister, now President Mara was received twice at the White House, 
by President Ronald Reagan in October 1984 and by President George 
Bush in October 1989. Then Vice President Bush and then Prime 
Minister Mara opened Fiji's Washington Embassy in October 1985. 
Secretary of State George Shultz visited Fiji in July 1985. In October 
1990, then Prime Minister Mara attended the first summit of Pacific 
island nations hosted by President Bush in Honolulu. U.S. Ambassador 
Don L. Gevirtz arrived in Fiji in January, 1996.

The United States assisted with the medical evacuation and care of 
Fiji's much-respected late President, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, who 
sadly died in December 1993 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Fiji has expressed interest in attracting U.S. investment. OPIC and 
EXIM investment insurance is available. Trade between the two 
countries is relatively small due to high shipping costs and other 
economic factors. The U.S. was Fiji's fifth largest supplier in 1993 with 
exports of USD 56.7 million, consisting mainly of industrial 
machinery, manufactured goods and chemicals. The U.S. imported 
USD 48.1 million from Fiji in 1993, primarily in sugar and garments. 
The U.S. fishing treaty in the area has brought opportunity for 
economic links and renewed efforts to ensure access to exclusive 
economic zones through U.S. development assistance to the marine 
resource sector. USAID administers modest regional assistance 
programs which benefit Fiji. The Government of Fiji has expressed its 
disappointment with the September 1994 closure of the USAID 
regional office in Suva. Approximately one hundred Peace Corps 
Volunteers will continue to teach and provide technical assistance 
throughout Fiji until this program phases out by 1998. The U.S. 
Embassy in Suva has a small commercial section to facilitate trade and 
investment.

Principal U.S. Officials

Ambassador--Don L. Gevirtz
Deputy Chief of Mission--Larry Dinger
Military Attache--Lt. Col. Richard LeVan
Peace Corps Director--Carolyn Waterman
Consul--Nicholas MacNeil

The U.S. Embassy in Fiji is located at 31 Loftus Street, Suva [tel: (679) 
314-466, fax: (679) 300-081]. The mailing address is U.S. Embassy, 
P.O. Box 218, Suva, Fiji.

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