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

NEWS RELEASE August 1, 2002


Congressman Eni F.H. Faleomavaega announced today that the Senate also passed the Andean Trade Preference Act with revisions on tuna as agreed upon in the House-Senate conference report on trade legislation. The Senate passed this legislation by a vote of 64 to 33 and it is now expected that the President will sign this Trade Act into law.

"Like the House, the Senate agreed to exclude canned tuna from the ATPA. Like the House, the Senate also agreed to authorize the President with the authority to grant duty-free treatment for tuna pouches exported from the Andean countries," Congressman Faleomavaega said. "Although I continue to oppose duty-free treatment for tuna packed in any form, I am pleased that through a united effort we have been successful in protecting American Samoa’s canning operations."

"Canned tuna accounts for about 95% of tuna operations in American Samoa. Pouch production accounts for less than 5% of our business. This means that we have been successful in protecting the immediate interests of American Samoa but this also means that it is time for American Samoa to take a hard look at its economy and seriously consider news ways to diversify," Congressman Faleomavaega said.

"For more than a year, StarKist has pushed for duty-free treatment on all canned tuna and has opposed including rules of origin which would require tuna to be caught by Andean or U.S. fishing vessels. For more than a year, American Samoa, Chicken of the Sea, Bumble Bee, and the U.S. boat owners have fought to exclude canned tuna and insisted on rules of origin. After a year of hard-fought struggle, StarKist settled for pouches, we won rules of origin, and we were also successful in protecting all canned tuna products."

"Canned tuna will not enter the U.S. duty-free and I am pleased by this outcome. I am also pleased that our differences with StarKist can now be resolved and I am hopeful that we can lay this matter to rest and move forward," Congressman Faleomavaega said. As I stated in my previous release, I welcome Del Monte to our islands and I look forward to building more promising relations."

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