The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed its first trade finance deals in Fiji, with two agreements with the Home Finance Company (HFC Bank).

A revolving credit facility and a credit guarantee facility are worth a combined US$4mn and will help HFC support local exporters in key areas such as sugar, copra and other agricultural goods.

It marks the first use of the ADB’s Trade Finance Programme in the Pacific nation. HFC becomes the fourth ban to sign up among the Pacific Island nations. It comes just weeks after the ADB opened its book for Papua New Guinea.

Earlier in May, a credit guarantee facility was signed with Kina Bank, a PNG lender, which will support US$4mn of annual trade in Papua New Guinea, specifically local SME importers and exporters.

Ed Faber, who is a relationship manager for the ADB covering Fiji, says that the development bank was delighted with is expansion into the Pacific.

He adds: “Through this facility, HFC Bank will be able to grow its trade finance operations and finance more importers and exporters, including small and medium-sized enterprises, to expand trade, growth, and jobs in Fiji.”

Meanwhile Vilash Chand, deputy chairman at HFC Bank, says: “This partnership with ADB’s TFP will provide HFC Bank a solid platform in the international banking arena, while paving the way for our customers to venture into new global markets by using safe and reliable financial products like letters of credit and also obtain financing at competitive and attractive rates.”

Fiji’s exports provided 48% of its GDP in 2015 – a high figure by international standards. A large part of its imports are fuel and food products, which will also stand to benefit from the ADB facility.

The country’s economy grew just 2% last year, as Fiji attempts to recover from Cyclone Winston, which caused damage equivalent to 28% of GDP. Agriculture and forestry were hit, and the government is looking to rollout infrastructure upgrades to hasten the recovery. Should the policies be successful, Fiji will be looking to return to the 5.6% growth of 2014.