21 Dec 2015

Two Samoas agree to chip away at trade barriers

10:54 am on 21 December 2015

Two days of talks between the two Samoas have ended on a positive note, with both sides agreeing to come up with solutions to ease trade barriers.

American Samoa Governor Lolo Moliga.

American Samoa Governor Lolo Moliga. Photo: RNZI Monica Miller

A government and business delegation from Samoa travelled to American Samoa last week for annual economic cooperation talks.

Our correspondent in Pago Pago, Monica Miller, says the talks appear to have gained more than most, with a pledge made to work on a trade and economic agreement to be signed at the next meeting.

She says they aim to overcome significant hurdles for businesses.

"Businesses from Samoa that come here, they've found that the licencing laws as well as getting permits for land use and that sort of thing can be quite strenuous here. Other things they've talked about is perhaps bringing down duty for certain items - the duty is so high."

She says the Samoan delegation expressed frustration at federal regulations it says makes it difficult to export food and affects labour mobility.

"They have been hoping that the local government would try and get an exemption for trading with Samoa because of the closeness and because of the cultural links. It still seems that the stumbling block is on this side [American Samoa] because the territory has to abide by US regulations."