|June 26, 2002
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|WASHINGTON, D.C.—FALEOMAVAEGA, ASEAN COUNTRIES AND THE U.S. TUNA INDUSTRY HOLD SPECIAL MEETING TO DISCUSS ATPA|
| Congressman Faleomavaega
announced that, per his request, a special meeting on the Andean Trade
Preference Act (ATPA) was held today in the office of Congressman Charles
Rangel, Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
“In attendance was the Honorable Albert de Rosario--Ambassador of the Philippines, Ms. Nognuth Phetcharatana--Deputy Chief of Mission for the Royal Thai Embassy, and Iman Pambagyo--Industry and Trade Attache from the Embassy of Indonesia,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “Dennis Mussell, CEO of Chicken of the Sea International, Paul Krampe of the U.S. tuna boat owners, and Jan Lipsen of the Governor’s office also accepted my invitation to attend this meeting.”
“Congressman Rangel continues to be a strong supporter and advocate of our position to protect the jobs of U.S. workers, including 1,000 workers in American Samoa,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “The ASEAN countries, including Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia also continue to stand united with us. There is strong consensus among us that the inclusion of canned tuna in the ATPA will have dire and unintended consequences for American Samoa and the Asia Pacific Region.”
“Given that the Andean countries and StarKist are still aggressively pursuing the matter of including canned tuna in the ATPA, this meeting was critical to our cause,” the Congressman said. “As the House and Senate work toward a compromise between the two versions of the ATPA currently on the table, Congressman Rangel will be one of the key members of Congress determining the outcome of the tuna provision.”
“I want to thank Congressman Rangel for his support. He is and always has been a true friend of American Samoa and of U.S. workers. Congressman Rangel also has a tremendous amount of empathy for the ASEAN countries, particularly for the Philippines which continues to face terrorist threats of its own,” Faleomavaega said.
“Likewise, Congressman Rangel wishes to assist the Andean countries in fighting drug production, as we all do. But the Andean countries have enjoyed explosive growth since the enactment of the ATPA in 1992 and continue to export over $28 billion a year in products and commodities to the U.S. American Samoa, on the other hand, is a single-industry economy and that’s the point I wish StarKist would take to heart.”
“The people of American Samoa cannot afford to let Ecuador and other Andean countries strip them of their livelihood and I am committed to doing everything in my power to see that our interests are protected, so come what may,” Congressman Faleomavaega said.
“For every million cases that enters the U.S. duty free, American Samoa could lose 270 jobs, $18 million in processing revenue, $5 million in utilities, $1.5 million wages, and thousands of dollars in lost tax revenue. This is why I am aggressively working to broaden and strengthen our base of support.”
“Two weeks ago, the ASEAN countries accepted my invitation to meet in my Washington office to discuss strategy and to build a partnership. One week ago, the Ambassador of the Philippines and I met to discuss these matters in further detail. Today, we are united in our efforts to ensure that any trade policy that is enacted is fair and non-discriminatory,” the Congressman said. “I am also hopeful that with the support of Chicken of the Sea, Bumble Bee, the U.S. boat owners, Puerto Rico, and the ASEAN countries we will be able to gain enough support to weather this storm and protect our common interests,” the Congressman concluded.
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