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By Gina Magele

APIA, Samoa (October 14, 2000 - Samoa Observer/PINA Nius Online)---The first two containers full of local products have been shipped to Germany.

Leading the way is the Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters, (SAME) headed by President Eddie Wilson.

He said: "It’s a very exciting time and we are very very proud. Over 300 million people in Europe will be able to purchase our locally made products, e.g. coconuts, kava, body oil, tapa prints, chocolate, soap, lava lavas, handicrafts, coconut cream, etc by local producers. We’ve also included recordings on CDs from local artists."

"The value of all the goods is roughly estimated at ST$ 100,000 (US$ 35,273.40) and will be insured," Wilson said.

"We have been working towards this for five months, from the World Export Trade Mission in Hanover, Germany, earlier this year. We are still being represented there at present.

"The biggest selling point we found is the feedback that Europeans view Samoa as paradise, where the romantic ethnic flavor of our tradition and culture stand out.

"The whole idea is with the success of this initial deal, the repeat orders will give the opportunity for more individual markets to arise with our Samoan products being exposed all over Europe.

"Specialist companies are already wanting to deal with specific products, e.g. coconut cream, nonu juice and the range of health products being produced in Samoa.

"The winners are our people - the local manufacturers and handicraft producers.

"With trade promotions and quality standards, the local producers are now getting first-hand feedback on their crafts. For instance, now all handicrafts have to comply with European standards.

"This first order has been commissioned by a German company - El Puente. This same company has over 20 outlets all over Europe. All the products will be featured in the company catalogue."

SAME has four other customers in the pipeline, including GEBA - a company with 500 outlets within Europe.

"When the shipment arrives in Hanover, El Puente will be hosting a ‘Samoan Products Promotion’ to announce the availability of the products.

"The main feature will be the various ways a coconut is used and served, as a dish and as a tool. There will be a fire knife dance performance also."

SAME is made up of 20 companies and individual producers at the moment, according to Chief Executive Officer Jeff Atoa.

The next big shipment of local products by SAME will be during December-January. They also have airfreight shipments going out regularly, with the next one going out next month.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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