In a letter dated July 13, 2009, Mr. Don Binotto, President and CEO of StarKist, has thanked Congressman Faleomavaega for working with the cannery in the formulation of the American Samoa Protection of Industry, Resources, and Employment, or the ASPIRE proposal.
The full text of StarKist’s letter to the Congressman is included below:
Dear Congressman Faleomavaega:
I write today to thank you for your efforts to generate economic development initiatives in American Samoa. Specifically, we would like to thank you for working with us in the formulation of the American Samoa Protection of Industry, Resources, and Employment, or “ASPIRE” proposal, and encourage your continued leadership in securing the proposal’s local support and enactment by Congress as soon as possible.
As we have shared with you and the leadership of American Samoa, constantly shifting cost pressures, excess global manufacturing capacity, and annual increases in the minimum wage mean that the American Samoa tuna industry is at significant and immediate risk and is no longer globally competitive. The solutions outlined in the ASPIRE Act will counteract these factors by benefiting sellers and buyers of fish directly delivered to American Samoa, re-establishing the island as a hub for the tuna industry and, most importantly, reinvigorating American Samoa’s economy.
While initiatives are underway to stimulate total island economic growth in the near future, the current economic reality of doing business in American Samoa requires that we enact further cost-saving measures. To that end, as we’ve discussed, we will be making additional workforce reductions over the next several months to make our facility as competitive as possible.
However, StarKist remains hopeful that with your leadership in bringing ASPIRE to fruition, American Samoa can become a globally competitive center for StarKist and industry in general with a stable and diverse economy.
Mr. Binotto concluded his letter to the Congressman by stating, “Please let us know how we can support you in your efforts in promoting ASPIRE. We look forward to the act’s adoption, and we thank you again for your dedication to this important issue.”