Building on Shared Values
The last year and a half has been a time of reflection and refocus for Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) China as we come to terms with the severe impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the businesses, livelihoods, and families of the Blue Pacific. Confronting conversations, raw emotions and the resounding call for genuine solutions have led our team to rethink how we promote trade and investment between the Pacific and China.
It has been just over a year since I moved back to China from the Cook Islands in my official capacity as Trade Commissioner for PTI China. During this time, I have gained a clearer appreciation of China, its people and their view of both the world and itself as a nation, steeped in a strong culture of traditional and family values. Stepping out of Beijing and into the rural areas of China, I have visited farms, sat with growers, and marvelled at the Chinese work ethic and determination to improve their lives.
Hard work is very much entrenched in the Chinese way of life and the importance placed on respect and harmony, amidst the drive to transform into a modern society. The farmers give careful consideration to each step of the value chain. They have an understanding that singular ingredients make the whole and ultimately, hold the faith that “what you put in as hard work, you reap as rewards”. These interactions are reminiscent of my own experiences working with our Pacific communities, farmers and producers in the villages and highlands, and our approach to cultivation around our own Pacific honour of heritage and family.
The global pandemic and corresponding economic downturn provided an opportunity for my team and I to pause and reflect on how we can best support businesses in the Pacific. Through this process and seeing the impact of COVID-19 here in China, it was clear that at the heart of both cultures are the shared values of respect, harmony and family. We used these as our Kaveinga – our guide – as we refreshed PTI China’s approach to promoting trade and investment opportunities in the Blue Pacific. A map that builds on our shared values, guiding us towards a mutual vision of improving the livelihoods of Pacific people through trade and investment.
For us, this means finding the right buyers and investors, who share our values and vision for environmentally and socially sustainable progress. It means being led by those with their feet in the soil and the waters of the Pacific, who know their businesses, and connecting them with the right buyers and investors, who they can be confident share their values. In China we have seen an increasing trend of Chinese investors looking to participate in opportunities that not only create commercial returns, but also provide positive environmental and social impacts.
To raise our awareness with the right buyers and investors, we have intensified our marketing and promotional efforts in China to ensure the Pacific remains top of mind. As such, we launched our Blue Pacific campaign in 2020 and this year it has taken centre stage.. The campaign took the shape of launching last month the Fiji–China Online Trade Exposition in partnership with Investment Fiji, showcasing high-end Pacific products at SIAL China, Asia’s largest food and beverage exhibition, and at the Fourth 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road Expo 2021.
PTI China is actively ensuring that alongside acknowledging all that we as a region share with China, we also shine a light on what makes the Pacific unique, inimitable, and sovereign. We define ourselves as innovative and creative as we present the Blue Pacific to China as a region of diverse business and impact opportunities.
As both China and the Pacific emerge from unprecedented economic pressures and isolation, PTI China continues to look for opportunities for mutual success for our peoples. In line with what we share and uphold as individual and independent societies, we continue to bring partnerships together with utmost care and integrity.
Our Blue Pacific narrative remains at the forefront of our promotional efforts in China as we build on the vision of our Pacific leaders. Securing a prosperous future for our Pacific people is our priority and we will continue to build on the shared values between China and the Pacific Islands, to achieve economic and sustainable outcomes.
As one Blue Pacific, we are strong together and we can build back together on our shared values.
by Mona Mato
Trade & Investment Commissioner
Pacific Trade Invest China