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CONGRESSMAN ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA American Samoa U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

NEWS RELEASE March 2, 2001


Congressman Eni Faleomavaega announced today that he and Governor Tauese Sunia met in Washington with Vietnam’s Ambassador, His Excellency Le Van Bang, to discuss the immediate resolution of the Daewoosa crisis.

"The meeting was both meaningful and productive," Congressman Faleomavaega said. "The Ambassador has given us his assurances that no harm will come to the more than 250 Vietnamese workers when they return to Vietnam. His Excellency Le Van Bang has also assured us that the Government of Vietnam is firmly committed to bearing the costs of returning its people home."

"All parties fully understand that the complications associated with Daewoosa are a result of the highly suspect business practices of Kil-Soo Lee, owner of the poorly managed Korean garment operation. We all agree that Kil-Soo Lee should be fully prosecuted for repeated failure to comply with both local and Federal laws," Congressman Faleomavaega said.

"There was also a consensus or understanding that Company 12 will continue to do all that it can to expedite the safe return of its workers. In return, the Governor and I will do everything we can to work with the appropriate Federal agencies to seize any assets that Daewoosa may have so that all workers, both Vietnamese and Samoan, can be paid their back wages," the Congressman noted.

"The Ambassador also indicated that there are approximately 54,000 Vietnamese people working across all parts of the world. The Ambassador noted that this is the first time something like this has happened to its workers and government," Congressman Faleomavaega said. "The Governor and I also noted that this is the first time American Samoa has been faced with a questionable business operation that has resulted in our Territory being unfairly depicted in the press."

"We all agree that this kind of situation should never occur again. We are also hopeful that we can soon bring this crisis to a close," Congressman Faleomavaega concluded.

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