25 Jun 2002

American Samoan chief blames US for problems at Daewoosa garment factory

10:14 am on 25 June 2002

A Paramount chief in American Samoa, Galea'i Tu'ufuli, says he is determined to clear his country's name, which has been damaged by the Daewoosa garment factory scandal.

Galea'i, who is also the Manu'a District Governor, says American Samoa has often been mentioned in connection with sweatshop operations and human trafficking following the arrest of the South Korean Daewoosa owner, Kil Soo Lee, on charges of slavery two years ago.

But he says his investigations show that the United States agreed to a free trade agreement with Vietnam, despite questions over that country's human rights record.

Galea'i sees such a policy lead to a series of events resulting in the Daewoosa fiasco.

The factory employed not only Vietnamese, but Chinese workers and was Korean-owned.

Before the Daewoosa case, allegations were made in the early 1990's of Indonesian and ni-Vanuatu fishermen being harshly treated on South Korean long line fishing vessels operating out of Pago Pago