21 Oct 2002

American Samoa's tuna exporters facing new pressures

3:47 pm on 21 October 2002

American Samoa's tuna exports may be under a new threat from five Central American countries.

Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua are seeking unlimited access for their tuna under the provisions of the US Central America Free Trade Agreement.

American Samoa's Congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, has been told that the US International Trade Commission is conducting an informal investigation into the probable effects that the Central America agreement may have on US tuna and fishing processing industries.

Faleomavaega has expressed disappointment that the ITC has given many groups less than three weeks to submit their defence.

He also says that StarKist may not be able to submit testimony due to a pending merger agreement between Heinz and Del Monte that is not expected to be resolved until the end of the month.