|Congressman Faleomavaega recently met with the U.S.
Customs officials to discuss the matter of Mid Pasefika and the applicability
of the U.S. Customs laws in American Samoa. Although Federal law
prohibits U.S. Customs from releasing the details of an on-going investigation,
Faleomavaega learned that a thorough investigation is being conducted.
“The U.S. Customs has assured me that this matter is being thoroughly
reviewed and investigated. The U.S. Customs has also informed me
that the details of the seizure and shipment relating to the Mid Pasefika
case go beyond the scope of what has been relayed in newspaper accounts,”
Congressman Faleomavaega said.
“I expressed serious concerns about this incident,” Congressman
Faleomavaega continued. “During the course of our briefing, I made
it clear that I do not believe Mid Pasefika ‘mislabled’ over $300,000 dollars
worth of clothing. I believe Mid Pasefika acted deliberately and
intentionally. I believe Mid Pasefika made a clear choice to violate
As it currently stands, only portions of the U.S. Customs laws apply
to American Samoa. If there are violations of criminal law, then
the U.S. Customs has the authority to investigate. But in other matters,
the U.S. Customs zone does not extend to, or include, American Samoa.
This could potentially pose serious problems for American Samoa as an increasing
number of garment facilities and other foreign businesses make their way
to the Territory.
“I am working closely with the U.S. Customs officials to address
these concerns. I am also requesting Federal dollars to assist us
with our local training needs. I believe, as we address these issues
from both the local and Federal levels, we will be able to protect our
borders in a way that preserves the culture, values and economy of American
Samoa. But the time to act is now,” Congressman Faleomavaega concluded.