Fiji is not on the FATF List of Countries that have been identified as having strategic AML deficiencies
Compliance with FATF Recommendations
The last follow-up Mutual Evaluation Report relating to the implementation of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards in Fiji was undertaken in 2019. According to that Evaluation, Fiji was deemed Compliant for 11 and Largely Compliant for 15 of the FATF 40 Recommendations. It was deemed Highly effective for 0 and Substantially Effective for 0 of the Effectiveness & Technical Compliance ratings.
APG Yearly Typologies Report - 2017
Emerging Trend: ATM Skimming
Cases were brought to the attention of the FIU involving foreign nationals who obtained customers bank card details by fraudulent means using ATM and EFTPOS skimming devices. The Director of the FIU stated in a press release that there was an increase in the number of skimming cases since June 2015. A major incident occurred in December 2015 that affected more than 500 credit and debit cardholders. An attempt to conduct ATM skimming in January 2016 was successfully foiled.
In August 2016, the Fiji FIU received information that three Asian nationals were using stolen and counterfeit Visa and MasterCard cards at BSP ATMs in Tonga and Samoa. Two of the Asian nationals were in custody in Samoa whilst the third national reportedly left for Fiji. The trend of ATM skimming appears to have emerged not only in Fiji but across the Pacific.
Continuing Trend: Advance Fee Fraud and Tax Evasion
The Fiji FIU issued 6 alert notices to commercial banks and money remittance service providers to conduct enhanced due diligence procedures for suspected possible advance fee fraud, lottery scam related remittances and email spoofing activities. The Fiji FIU continued to receive cases related to unsolicited emails promising attractive job opportunities, payment of lottery awards, inheritance of large amounts of funds, lucrative investment opportunities and other “get-rich-quick” schemes.
The Fiji FIU continues to note STR cases for possible tax evasion, such as the use of family members (including minors) personal bank accounts to hide business proceeds.
US Department of State Money Laundering assessment (INCSR)
Fiji was deemed a ‘Monitored’ Jurisdiction by the US Department of State 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR). Key Findings from the report are as follows: -
The Republic of Fiji is a small island state with a population of less than one million. It has significant natural resources and is among the most developed of the Pacific island nations. It is not a regional financial center but serves as a regional hub for transportation and shipping for other Pacific island nations. Currently, there are no operating casinos.
Fiji’s geographical location makes it a potential staging point for criminal activities in Australia and New Zealand. Cross-border criminal gangs involving individuals from Asian countries are alleged to operate in Fiji.
To encourage investment and create economic opportunities in Fiji’s rural Northern and Maritime Island regions, the government declared certain areas as tax free regions. Benefits include a multi-year corporate tax holiday and import duty exemption on raw materials, machinery, and equipment for initial setup. There is also a tax free region in the North East of Viti Levu targeting agriculture, dairy, and other new investments.
EU Commission Tax Blacklist
On March 12, 2019, the EU Commission confirmed that Fiji had not delivered on their commitments since the first blacklist adopted in 2017 and, therefore, it will be placed on the EU Tax Blacklist.
There are no longer any Australian or New Zealand sanctions in place against Fiji
BRIBERY & CORRUPTION
Rating (100-Good / 0-Bad)
Transparency International Corruption Index N/A
World Governance Indicator – Control of Corruption 65
Fiji, endowed with forest, mineral, and fish resources, is one of the most developed and connected of the Pacific island economies. Earnings from the tourism industry, with an estimated 755,000 tourists visiting in 2015, and remittances from Fijian’s working abroad are the country’s largest foreign exchange earners.
Fiji's sugar remains a significant industry and a major export. The sugar industry reforms since 2010 have improved productivity and returns, but the industry faces the complete withdrawal of European Union preferential prices by 2017. Fiji’s trade imbalance continues to widen with increased imports and sluggish performance of domestic exports.
The return to parliamentary democracy and successful elections in September 2014 have boosted investor confidence. Private sector investment in 2015 exceeded 20% of GDP, compared to 13% in 2013.
Agriculture - products:
sugarcane, coconuts, cassava (manioc, tapioca), rice, sweet potatoes, bananas; cattle, pigs, horses, goats; fish
tourism, sugar, clothing, copra, gold, silver, lumber, small cottage industries
Exports - commodities:
sugar, garments, gold, timber, fish, molasses, coconut oil, mineral water
Exports - partners:
US 13.4%, Australia 10.2%, Samoa 6.7%, Tonga 5.9% (2015)
Imports - commodities:
manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products, food, chemicals
Imports - partners:
China 16.2%, South Korea 15.7%, NZ 14%, Australia 13.4%, Singapore 8.7%, France 7% (2015)
Investment Climate - US State Department
Fiji is a republic with a population of approximately 886,500 and an estimated GDP of USD 4.5 billion. It is classified as an upper middle income economy by the World Bank. The government welcomes foreign investment and assures investors that Fiji is a safe place to do business. In 2014, the government reported a total of 261 new investment applications from foreign investors valued at USD 240.9 million (FD 500 million). This is compared to 257 projects valued at USD 627 million (FD 1.25 billion) in 2013. Following eight years of military rule, Fiji held general elections in September 2014. The return to parliamentary democracy and re-engagement of diplomatic relations with international partners has improved investor confidence.
On February 20 and 21 of 2016, Fiji experienced the most powerful cyclone on record in the Southern Hemisphere, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Cyclone Winston caused flooding and extensive damage to housing, schools, and public infrastructure and disrupted essential utilities. In line with the impact of the cyclone, the Fiji government expects growth to be lower than its earlier projection of 3.5 percent in 2016. Significant post-cyclone reconstruction, retail and tourism activity are expected to drive growth in 2016. The financial system is stable and the central bank relaxed a number of foreign exchange controls. The Reserve Bank of Fiji still requires approval of remittances above USD 480,000 (FD one million) of investment profits and capital.
Fiji’s total land mass is roughly 11,352 square miles. The land ownership situation in Fiji is complex. Eight percent of land is freehold; the rest is indigenous and government land that can only be leased. Fiji passed a Land Sales Act in December 2014 that restricts ownership of freehold land inside city or town council boundaries areas to Fijian citizens. There are limited exceptions to allow foreigners to purchase land (see the section on real property below).
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