MID-PASEFIKA INTERESTED IN SEVERAL AMERICAN SAMOA FACTORY POSSIBILITIES

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By Lewis Wolman

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (January 25, 2000 – Samoa News)---Mid-Pasefika Samoa, Inc. is "earnestly interested" in establishing a factory in American Samoa, according to Lt. Governor Togiola Tulafono.

Togiola said he met with a Mr. Kim from Korea several weeks ago and discussed Kim's ideas, which included a cardboard box manufacturing facility, a consumer electronics assembly plant, and a garment plant.

The cardboard boxes used by the canneries are now made in Fiji and many people have long thought a cardboard box plant could be profitably located here.

Kim is interested in perhaps opening a garment manufacturing plant here, using imported workers as sewers and locally hired workers for the other jobs.

Togiola said a newspaper advertisement placed by Mid Pasefika seeking 500 seamstresses was "not exactly accurate. The company would like to reach that size eventually, but not immediately," Togiola said. He also said half the employees would be sewers and Mid Pasefika intended to bring in its own sewers from outside and manufacture more complicated garments than the polo shirts made by BCTC.

The attraction of American Samoa, Togiola said, is based on Headnote 3A and the unlimited quota of goods it allows to be sent from American Samoa to the United States.

Togiola acknowledged that things are getting easier for Chinese garment exporters to get their goods into the U.S. market, but he said a Korean would not be able to benefit from the relaxation in trade rules between China and the U.S.

Thus a Korean like Kim still needs to find a good location for manufacturing goods for the U.S. market.

Togiola said Mid Pasefika was interested in talking to the inactive South Pacific Garment Company regarding use of the former BCTC plant.

The Lt. Governor still regrets the loss of BCTC. "We worked smoothly with BCTC throughout their time here, but they felt they would be better off moving their operation to Israel, and so they did.

"We tried everything to keep them here," Togiola said of the U.S.-owned company that employed more than 200 locals. "We even agreed to their request for another three year period during which the company could bring in 300 Chinese workers.

"But they felt the future was in Israel and they had signed a bad contract with their employees. Some of the Chinese seamstresses were making $7 per hour because their contract had significant incentives," Togiola said.

Items from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

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