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Tahiti and her Islands: Doning business and staying in touch

Doing Business in Tahiti and her Islands

Informal in atmosphere. Literature will be in French, but English is understood in some business circles, particularly those connected with tourism.

Office Hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1200 and 1330-1730, Sat 0800-1200.

Economy

The traditional Polynesian economy was agricultural, but that sector now accounts for less than 5% of total output and employment. Coconuts are the principal cash crop and vanilla, coffee and citrus fruit are also produced in quantity. There is a substantial fishing industry, based on tuna, most of the income of which is derived from licences granted to foreign fleets. Manufacturing is mainly devoted to processing agricultural products and a small mining industry has evolved following the recent discovery of phosphate and cobalt deposits.

French Polynesia as a whole has suffered from a serious unemployment problem since the end of French nuclear testing in the mid 1990s; although much disliked by local governments and the majority of their peoples, the tests provided many construction and service jobs. As a result, Tahiti now depends heavily on remittances from migrant workers.

The government believes that tourism offers the best, and perhaps the only, prospect for a self-supporting economy. At present, French Polynesia as a whole receives around 230,000 visitors annually, and the industry is worth over US$400 million annually.

The territory suffers from a serious trade deficit (imports exceed exports by a factor of 10) so that considerable aid is needed from the French to balance the country's finances.

GDP

US$4.6 billion (2003).

Main exports

Cultured black pearls, fish and coconut products.

Main imports

Fuels, food, machinery and equipment.

Main trading partners

France, USA, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Keeping in Touch in Tahiti and her Islands

Telephone

Operator assistance may be required for international calls. There are many phone booths which operate using cards (Telecarte) that can be purchased at the airport, bars, magazine stands and the post office. Hotel telephone charges are extremely high.

Mobile Phone

The GSM 900 network is not compatible with US mobile phones. Mobile phones are available to rent, which offer better rates than roaming fees.

Internet

There are Internet cafés in Papeete and Moorea.

Post

Airmail to Western Europe takes around six to eight days.

Post Office hours

(central office in Papeete) Mon-Fri 0700-1800, Sat-Sun 0800-1100 (outside Papeete, there is a restricted service in the afternoons and at weekends).