8 Jul 2003

Samoa sees export hope in cigarettes and beer

4:32 pm on 8 July 2003

The Samoa Trade minister, Hans Joachim Keil, says the alcohol and tobacco industry could help boost the country's flagging exports.

The latest central bank figures show exports fell by over 135-thousand US dollars in May and imports rose causing the trade deficit to widen to a total of 12-POINT-3 US million dollars.

Mr Keil says Samoa has not been trading enough with its Pacific neighbours although the recently ratified PICTA and PACER agreements would help.

He says trade within the Pacific can be hard because the island nations specialise in the same products.

Mr Keil says Samoa needs unique products like the alcohol and tobacco industries already provided.

"Each country has its own brewery and each country has its own cigarette market...there is a unique taste in Fijians for their local beer and we have a unique taste here for our local beer and it is the same for cigarettes, but it is just a start .....it's a beginning."

Hans Joachim Keil.