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Loss of textile trade, flagging tourism cited

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 6, 2010) – The United States has released its first report on the gross domestic product of it's Pacific territories.

Annual growth rates in Guam and American Samoa are up between 0.4 and 1.8 per cent

But U.S. Department of Commerce's Rebecca Blank says the figures were negative for the Northern Marianas with a 4.2 per cent drop in annual GDP.

"There arre a couple of things happening in the CNMI - this was an island that had a substantial textile industry and that textile industry has been shifting offshore to other places and that has caused some economic disruptions," she said.

"It's also an island that has substantial tourism and they have been impacted as have a number of other Pacific islands over the years, if you look at the data, by the SARS epidemic, there was the suspension of flights from Tokyo by Japan airlines a number of years ago, so they also had some rocky years of tourism as well."

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