20 Oct 2005

American Samoa puts off shipment to Tokelau, citing political and tax situation

3:17 pm on 20 October 2005

American Samoa has put off a shipment to Tokelau, a move which was meant to have signalled the start of a regular trading link.

The MV Sili was reportedly postponed because of recent political changes in the New Zealand government which may impact the atolls.

American Samoa's representative for Swains Island, Alex Jennings, says the Ulu o Tokelau, Pio Tuia, is in Wellington for discussions with the New Zealand government which oversees Tokelau.

Representative Jennings says another issue which has to be sorted out is the excise taxes on fuel, a commodity that the Tokelauans want to buy from American Samoa.

It would be the first time that American Samoa would sell fuel to another country, so there are no rules for goods that are exported, and whether dockage and excise taxes apply.

Mr Jennings says the delay is a temporary setback and the leaders and people of Tokelau are still very keen on acquiring goods from American Samoa and having the MV Sili make regular trips to their atolls.