28 Apr 2003

Officials in American Samoa say it won't benefit by joining PICTA trade agreement

8:21 am on 28 April 2003

Officials in American Samoa say the territory may not have much to gain by participating in the Pacific Island Countries Free Trade Agreement.

The agreement, which has been in effect for just over a week, promotes free trade among island countries by removing all barriers such as import duties, quotas and other tariffs.

The Director of Commerce, Ali'imau Jnr Scanlan, says since American Samoa does not have any exports to send to neighboring countries, the free trade agreement would be a limited value.

But he says many of the signatories of the trade agreement already export tons of food, building materials and other products to the territory.

He said if American Samoa was to become part of the trade agreement it would lose out on taxes paid by these exporters.

But during discussions with between a Pacific Forum official, the government and business leaders it was suggested that fishing licenses for US tuna boats operating in the region could be tied to the Free Trade Agreement.