With a GDP of over 5 billion dollars, Fiji has the largest economy of the Pacific island countries. Its manufacturing sector is concentrated in garments, which are the country’s third-largest export category after agricultural and fish products. The garment industry emerged in the 1980s after the government introduced a Tax Free Factory and Tax Free Zone scheme, which waived taxes and provided other incentives for companies exporting at least 95% of their production.
The tax free schemes expired in 2004, and the lack of incentives and international competition have resulted in a decline in Fiji’s garment industry. Today, Fiji has two free zones: Kalabu Tax Free Zone in Suva, the country’s capital, and Savusavu Industrial Zone on Vanua Levu, the country’s second-largest island.
The government of Fiji has announced that it will develop a new SEZ in Lautoka, the country’s second-largest city, as part of its 20-Year National Development Plan to revive its manufacturing sector. The zone will focus on the ICT industry, warehousing, and light manufacturing. The Ministry of Industry will be responsible for operating and marketing the SEZ, with Fiji’s national pension fund announced in June 2019 as the primary infrastructure developer.