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    Wednesday, September 20, 2017-7:56:12P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

Regional News

American Samoa governor decries global politics

PAGO PAGO (RNZI) --- American Samoa’s Governor Lolo Moliga says he believes the territory is a victim of U.S. global politics as its canneries face an uncertain future.

Starkist, which is the top private sector employer, says it may shift its tuna production from American Samoa to counter rising operating costs.

The governor says there have been major changes in the economics of the fishing industry that are beyond the territory’s control.

Lolo Matalasi Moliga

He says all he can do is try to make those in Washington understand how their policies are impacting American Samoa.

The governor says the canneries, StarKist and Tri Marine, knew when they made their investments in their local plants that an increase in the minimum wage was coming.

Governor Lolo also recognized that the canneries are competing with countries where people are paid one dollar or less an hour.

Starkist says it has stopped hiring new staff as it is considering its options.

For her part, U.S. Congresswoman Aumua Amata of American Samoa says the territory is still a viable and profitable location for the canneries.

She was responding to an announcement by the Starkist Samoa cannery that it will stop hiring new staff, and is looking at shifting some of its production offshore.

Aumua Amata says Starkist should resist the temptation of hiring cheap labor.

She has also asked the cannery to continue to work with the local government and with the U.S. Congress, so that the firm can stay in American Samoa for many years to come.

Starkist, which is the territory’s largest private sector employer, says it has suffered due to the minimum wage increase of 40 cents an hour.