11 May 2007

Tonga tightens rules for foreign investment

1:23 pm on 11 May 2007

A Tongan official says new foreign investment regulations reserve certain business activities for Tongans.

The deputy secretary for the Ministry of Labour, Vika Fusimalohi, says this comes as the Foreign Investment Act 2002 has only just come into force last month.

It also regulates activities foreign investors can do.

She says it's the first time such an Act has been established in the Kingdom.

Ms Fusimalohi says there's a variety of business ventures reserved for Tongan nationals including certain types of farming, fishing and transport activities.

"Like running a taxi, going retailing, just importing the finished products and sell, retailing and wholesaling and production growing crops, like root Tongan food, root crops."

Ms Fusimalohi says activities not on the reserved list for Tongas remain open to foreign investors, who now have to apply for a certificate.

She says foreign investors who are already operating a business will have 12 months from April the 1st, to comply with the new Act.