2-Samoa talks scheduled for October in Apia

Trade and economic integration, agriculture, immigration and health are some of the issues on the agenda of the Inter-island Samoa talks with American Samoa.

The meeting will be hosted by Samoa in Apia in early October.

A release from the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (MPMC) said the talks were scheduled for early next month.

However, American Samoa had communicated to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi requesting to postpone the meeting to October to allow the territorial government to finalise issues from their end to be tabled in the upcoming meeting.

As one of the three central government agencies, the MPMC is tasked as the implementing agency to organise the event.

A series of meetings with government stakeholders have taken place in the last few months to prepare the agenda for the upcoming event.

Other long outstanding issues that are expected to be addressed in the two-day brainstorming session include education, transport, telecommunication and tourism.

In terms of exports, the agricultural sector remains optimistic that their American Samoa counterparts will assist with a request from Apia to the United States Department of Agriculture to certify the two mobile abattoirs and the soon to be built permanent and central abattoir that will open up the lucrative meat export markets to the United States via American Samoa.

There is also the Tui-Samoa fibre optic cable that Prime Minister Tuilaepa is hoping for the territorial government to come to the negotiating cable and become part of the Tui-Samoa family, which now includes neighboring Pacific Island countries.

The target is to improve telecommunication connectivity at affordable rates for residents of the 2-Samoas.

Immigration issues which include the current reciprocal permit regime between the two countries is another issue expected to be revisited during the talks in bids to minimize the red tape in processing entry permits.

And of course, the long-awaited trade agreement that would be mutually beneficial to Samoa and American Samoa.

The talks are geared at providing focus areas that include the identification of improvements to the immigration, customs, taxes, business creation, and foreign investment rules of the countries that would benefit economic integration.

As a lead up to the talks, Prime Minister Tuilaepa reiterated that under these circumstances, “it is imperative for the two Samoas to try as much as we can to cooperate in every area available.”

“We are already doing this successfully in the number of sectors, and with mixed success in the various other facets of our engagement.

“However, we obviously need to do more and we must continue to collaborate and cooperate in working towards goals that would mutually benefit our islands.”


Photo by MPMC. Caption: Government officials meeting to finalise the agenda for the upcoming 2 Samoa talks