8 May 2009

American Samoan senator urges plan to counter cannery closure

5:29 pm on 8 May 2009

An American Samoa senator, Utu Abe Malae, says the territorial Government should quickly put in place the economic development recommendations made last year by the Governor's Economic Advisory Council.

Utu is backing the Chamber of Commerce's call for the public and private sector to work on an expedited economic development plan to cushion the territory from the impact of the closure of the Samoa Packing cannery.

He says people should not be surprised by the closure, because the territory has known for several years that one or both canneries could go.

Utu, who chairs the Senate Economic Development Committee, points out the new fibre optic cable will provide more economic opportunities, with call centres already identified.

And he says there are opportunities in alternative energies and conservation,, given the stimulus package funding.

Utu says the draft recommendations outline a wide range of economic development avenues, including in tourism, fishery, agriculture and manufacturing.