FIJI GARMENT COMPANY CONSIDERING AMERICAN SAMOA FACTORY SITE

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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 26 - Samoa News)---A Fijian garment manufacturer has expressed strong interest in setting up operations in American Samoa, specializing in suits and jackets for a more exclusive market, according to Lieutenant Governor Togiola Tulafono.

Togiola returned several days ago from Canberra, Australia, where he attended the 50th Anniversary Conference of the South Pacific Commission, now newly renamed the Pacific Community.

On route to the conference, he stopped off in Nadi, Fiji to meet with officials from the Fiji Ministry of Trade and several manufacturers. He made a similar stop in Auckland, New Zealand.

Togiola told the Samoa News that the Fiji manufacturers are very interested in American Samoa for several reasons, including taking advantage of the "Made in USA" label to develop markets in the United States and its territories.

The Lieutenant Governor said that unlike BCTC-Samoa, which concentrates 100% on exports, the Fijian company, which he declined to name, also wants to sell some of its clothing on the local market.

The manufacturer also expressed interest in producing casual wear, including aloha shirts, that can be sold locally and exported for sale on the US mainland.

Togiola revealed that BCTC-Samoa is also interested in producing casual wear.

Togiola has invited the Fijian company to send a trade mission to the territory so that the American Samoa government could review the company's proposal and possibly assist with its development.

Additionally, several Australian investors have expressed interest in doing business in the territory. Their interest, however, is aimed at gift items and food processing operations.

"The most important thing is that we have established initial contact," explained Togiola. "Our neighbors know very well that they have a better entry to the U.S. market through us, but they have to invest in and contribute to our local economy."

He added that creating new employment opportunities and attracting new industries continue to be among his and Governor Tauese Sunia's top priorities.

"People without jobs translate to hardships because there is no income," he pointed out. "People with jobs translate to food on the table, a stronger economy and better way of living for everyone, including businesses."

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to >samoanews@samoatelco.com

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