A range of products from the Pacific was showcased at a Pacific Breakfast event on 9 July 2013, in the margins of the Fourth Global Review of Aid for Trade in Geneva, Switzerland.
The event effectively brought the taste of the Pacific to Europe by serving freshly ground Tanna coffee from Vanuatu, and a range of jams, chutneys and herbal teas and infusions from Friends Fiji.
An initiative of the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment (PT&I) network in Europe, the exploratory Pacific Breakfast event was successful in attracting around 100 people. Among the attendees were the Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Mr Pascal Lamy; the Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa, Hon. Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo; Minister for Trade from Papua New Guinea, Hon. Richard Maru; and Ambassadors and international delegates attending the Aid for Trade events in Geneva.
In introducing the event to the Guests, the Director of the Economic Governance Programme at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Mr Shiu Raj highlighted the uniqueness of the Pacific products. “Many of the high value niche products from the Pacific have a story that links to our cultures and traditions. These products are increasingly produced through ethical and sustainable practices and a number of Pacific products are being used by international chains and celebrities,” Mr Raj said.
The Pacific Showcase event profiled a selected range of Pacific product offerings that could enter into the European markets. Guests were provided an overview of Pacific exports including boutique coffees from Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu; chilli sauce from Samoa; canned tuna from Solomon Islands; and luxury personal care items including soaps and body oils from Fiji and Tonga. Other Pacific products such as vanilla, noni juice, cultural artefacts, jewellery and handicrafts were also on display at the event.
“The response by the participants at the Pacific Showcase illustrates the interest that European consumers may have in Pacific products. Export opportunities for boutique, fair trade and niche organic products are real. Buyers and suppliers are encouraged to contact the PT&I desk in Geneva, which promotes and markets Pacific products in Europe,” Mr Raj said.
Long viewed as a niche market, the value of the European organic market has grown consistently over the last decade. Data presented at BioFach 2013, the World’s leading Trade Fair for Organic Food, indicated that in 2011 the European market for organics was estimated to have had a value of 21.5 billion euros. In the same year, Germany alone had an estimated turnover of 6.6 billion euros. Significantly, in the larger European countries, it is estimated that approximately 25% of this demand is met by imported products.
The Pacific Islands Trade and Invest in Europe promotes Pacific exports and assists in developing critical marketing channels and value chain linkages to enable Pacific Island exporters to establish their products in European markets. The PT&I also assists in enhancing access to technical support and establishing partnerships with agencies that can deliver practical assistance to address the challenges and impediments to increased trade with Europe.
The presence of a PT&I desk in Europe has been made possible through the funding provided by the European Union, under the Pacific Integration Technical Assistance Project (PITAP), which is a component of the Strengthening Pacific Economic Integration through Trade (SPEITT) programme.