ECONOMIC BOOM IN SAMOA

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APIA, Samoa (August 16, 2000 - Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat)---Samoa appears to be enjoying an economic boom as a result of an understanding between the government and the private sector.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Secretary John Boyle also believes the political unrest in Fiji has been a factor, but only in the very short-term.

Boyle said much of the economic growth has been due to increased cooperation between the government and the private sector.

"It started way back when the government and the private sector worked together to bring down hefty changes in the tariff and income tax structure," Boyle said in an interview with Pacific Beat’s Peter McArthur.

Before the changes, tariffs for basic necessities such as refrigerators and automobiles were as high as 120 percent, he said.

"We’ve had steady growth, low inflation and good growth in the fishing industry, now our number one merchandise export," he said. "This is a working partnership, not a lip service one."

Samoa’s tourism industry has also benefited from Fiji’s coup.

Many tourists who would normally vacation in Fiji now are filling Samoa’s hotels. But Boyle adds this is not a long-term benefit.

"We’ve benefited in a minor and short-term way," he said. "The Samoan community doesn’t take any joy deriving benefits from some of the unfortunate things happening in Fiji."

For additional reports from Radio Australia/Pacific Beat, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia/Pacific Beat.

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