AMERICAN SAMOA MAY REPEAL $US 5.00 CUSTOMS FEE

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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (May 21, 1998 - Samoa News)---If the Tauese Administration does not agree to a compromise, Legislative leaders are threatening to take the initiative and repeal the law which authorizes the Customs Division to collect a $5.00 Declaration Fee from passengers and imported cargo.

The compromise outlined in a letter sent to Governor Tauese Sunia last week, endorsed by House Speaker Mailo Sao Nua and Senate President Pro-Temp Moaali'itele Tu'ufuli, urged the Executive Branch to charge the $5.00 declaration fee on cargo only and not passengers.

"The intent of the fee is for imported cargo and not passengers," Senator Moaali'itele told Samoa News. "Even during testimony government witnesses attested to this fact."

However, American Samoa Government (ASG) officials insisted the language of the law does not explicitly state imported cargo.

The Customs Division plans to proceed with the collection of the $5.00 fee effective June 1, this year.

Reportedly, ASG has received heavy opposition from local airlines and shipping agents who have been directed by the Executive Branch to have the agents collect the fees for ASG.

The fees will generate about $300,000 per year to assist ASG in meeting its quarterly payments of $175,000 to repay the $10-million, 10-year, 8.5 percent interest loan which the Retirement Fund has approved.

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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