28 Feb 2007

US Interior Department promises efforts to expand American Samoa's private sector

10:43 am on 28 February 2007

The US Interior Department says the agency will continue to assist the Insular Island governments to expand and strengthen their private sectors.

The deputy director for Insular Areas, David B Cohen, who was testifying before the U.S. House Resource committee, says most of the economies of those areas are currently dominated by the public sector and cannot be sustained without significant subsidy from the federal government.

American Samoa, Guam, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau and the Northern Marianas all come under the US Interior Department of Insular Areas.

He says the department has historically provided financial and technical assistance for a number of activities in the territories, but it now recognised a need to more directly facilitate private sector economic development.

Mr Cohen says the department now makes it a priority to provide technical assistance to help the insular areas identify and implement the necessary steps to make their economies more sustainable.