16 Mar 2010

American Samoa's Togiola suggests Compact of Free Association with US

9:47 am on 16 March 2010

The Governor of American Samoa Togiola Tulafono has suggested the territory negotiate a Compact of Free Association with the United States.

Togiola told students at the American Samoa Community College Constitutional Forum that the best way for the territory to move forward is to negotiate an agreement where it could be autonomous and self governing and at the same time maintain good relations with the U.S.

Togiola says the territory is going through difficult economic times and experiencing a lot of problems but it has little say in how it's governed.

He says the classic example is the imposition of the federal minimum wage law and the way local leaders had pleaded with Congress not to go ahead but they were ignored.

He says the territory's economy suffers adversely whenever the US signs trade deals that take away the competitive advantage enjoyed by local companies.