30 Nov 2004

Marshalls concerned about US banking restrictions

4:06 pm on 30 November 2004

The Special Projects manager of the Marshall Islands Chamber of Commerce, Bill Weza, says the group is trying to negotiate an exemption to US Banking regulations.

The U.S. Citizens Security Bank has notified the Bank of Marshall Islands that from February, it will no longer allow it to use CSB routing codes on local cheques.

This will mean that Bank of Marshall Island cheques would no longer be acceptable on the US mainland, where many businesses buy products.

The move has been triggered by Homeland Security legislation aimed at combatting the funding of terrorism.

Bill Weza says the legislation and resulting termination would be unfair.

"The Homeland Security now sets up a whole new bunch of rules that are not necessarily up for review prior to them being enacted. The United States says 'this is the way we're going to do it, and this is what you've got to conform to and if you don't then you're not allowed to do it.' So it's after the horse is out of the stable now we've got to scramble to find a way to get this corrected."

Mr Weza says the Chamber believes the Marshalls should get an exemption because of its historic links to the US.