While world trade has slowed recently, trade between China and the Pacific Islands has continued to grow according to new figures, with two-way trade almost doubling in 2015 to US$7.5 billion.

“This is good news for the economic development of the Pacific Island Countries as they build links to the powerhouse of the world economy, China”, said Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, David Morris. “Even as China’s growth has slowed in recent times, it continues to account for 25% of global growth and has become the largest trading nation.”[restrict]

Trade statistics released by Pacific Islands Trade & Invest China today show that the fourteen Forum Island Countries of the Pacific Islands Forum exported $2.5 billion worth of goods to China in 2015, up from $2 billion in 2014.

China’s exports to the Forum Island Countries doubled from $2.5 billion in 2014 to $5 billion in 2015, including some significant sales of maritime vessels to help build the fishing and other industries of the Pacific.

Papua New Guinea (PNG), the largest Pacific Island economy, accounted for nearly $2 billion of the exports. PNG is the largest exporter of timber to China. It has also become an important exporter of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) since its first LNG project came on-stream. Further LNG projects are planned. China has become a major investor in PNG and Metallurgical Corporation of China, which has an 85% share of Ramu Nickel mine, has also become a key exporter to China.

Across the rest of the Pacific Islands region, fish and fish products accounted for a significant proportion of the exports to China.

“For the Pacific fishery, as well as for other resources such as timber, sustainability is critical and China and the Pacific Island Countries can benefit in the long term if we work together to protect the precious environment and resources of the Pacific”, said Mr Morris.

“The very reason that the region is able to supply high quality seafood, other foods and beverages, such as the famous Fiji Water, is the pristine environment of the Pacific.

“We welcome stronger trade and investment links between China and the Pacific, to aid the sustainable development of the region.”

Mr Morris said there are good business opportunities for China, for those with a taste for the tropical ocean paradise of the Pacific.

“There are also good opportunities for Pacific Islands businesses to access the China market.

Our Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commission team in China is here to provide as much support as we can, to build trade, investment and tourism.”

The Pacific Islands Trade and Invest (PT&I) offices of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat operate as a professional network to improve services to Member countries, and increase the volume and value of Pacific Island exports and investments.

There are PT&I offices in Auckland, Beijing, Geneva, Sydney, and Tokyo. [/restrict