(Photo caption: Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and Brazilian Under Secretary General for Asia Pacific Region, Ms Maria Edileuza Reis cutting the cake to celebrate the opening of Fiji’s embassy in Brasilia, Brazil.)

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama opened Fiji’s first ever mission in the South American continent today at Brasilia, the capital of Brazil.

The Prime Minister said the opening of the embassy in Brasilia symbolised the new paradigm shift in Fiji.

“My Government believes in engagement with the wider international community,” Commodore Bainimarama told the guests present at the historic event.

“We believe that engagement should not only be confined to those nearest to us. International co-operation and engagement are critical to achieving global understanding and peace.”

Commodore Bainimarama said that working together as a group and enhancing more global integration provided the impetus to address issues such as climate change and peacekeeping among others.

“After all, it is only through appreciating differences and capitalising on diversity can we become rich in mind and matter,” Commodore Bainimarama said. “Thus, international co-operation and engagement will also help us as individual nations to achieve economic growth and economic diversification.”

In the past year, Fiji has opened up resident missions in Indonesia and South Africa. Fiji now has resident missions in all the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) except Russia, which is served by Fiji’s resident mission to Japan.

The opening of the embassy marks another milestone achievement for Fiji as we become the first island nation from the Pacific to be represented in Latin America. Fiji established diplomatic relations with Brazil on February 16, 2006. Brazil is the largest national economy in Latin America, the world’s eighth largest economy at market exchange rates. The economy of Brazil is diverse encompassing agriculture, industry and services.

Fiji’s imports from Brazil include, among others, vegetable products, coffee, prepared food stuff, beverages, spirits, vinegar, tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes, chemicals, plastics, grains, footwear items, glassware, ceramic products, jewelry, iron and steel.

The opening of the embassy in Brazil brings [Fiji's] total number of resident missions overseas to 14.