|May 21, 2003
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|WASHINGTON, D.C.—CONGRESSMAN FALEOMAVAEGA REQUESTS GAO STUDY OF FOREIGN INVESTMENTS IN AMERICAN SAMOA|
| Congressman Faleomavaega
announced today that on May 14, 2003 he and Ranking Member Nick Rahall
of the Resources Committee requested a General Accounting Office (GAO)
study of foreign investments in American Samoa.
“As Members of the House Resources Committee, we are committed to reviewing all issues affecting the insular areas,” the Congressman said. “Specifically, we are concerned about economic development and accountability of federal funds. We are also deeply concerned about foreign investment in American Samoa.”
“While an infusion of foreign investments into the Territory may appear to be positive, I believe that the proliferation of foreign investment has in fact come at a price to our local business owners. For example, American Samoa has seen a decline in local owned businesses in the past 20 years and this has resulted in economic growth resting in the hands of a few who in turn reinvest outside the Territory,” Faleomavaega said.
“Because I believe our local business owners are being disadvantaged as a result of foreign investments, I pledged to the American Samoa public that I would request a study in hopes that the information gathered can provide data necessary to the development of a sustainable local economy. First and foremost, I have requested the GAO to determine what percentage of private business in American Samoa is foreign versus local, what types of businesses foreign investors are involved in, and from whom they import their goods and products.”
“In addition, I have requested that the study focus on determining what the foreign business practices are, what the current corporate laws are in American Samoa, whether foreign investors are offered any incentives to operate in the Territory, and what percentage of their investments are reinvested into the local economy. I have also provided the Governor, Lt. Governor and Members of the Fono with a copy of our letter to the GAO,” the Congressman said.
“I have also invited our local leaders to contact me should they have questions or concerns and I have also assured them that Ranking Member Rahall and I will be working with the GAO to assure that a comprehensive study is conducted. Ranking Member Rahall and I are committed to furthering economic development in American Samoa. We are also committed to leveling the playing field for our local business owners and providing them with every advantage that foreign investors are given in this Territory. I believe the GAO study will provide us with the information we need to achieve these goals and I once again thank my good friend and colleague for his support in this effort,” the Congressman concluded.
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