9 Dec 2003

Palau plans to set up a free trade zone

7:31 am on 9 December 2003

Palau plans to set up a free trade zone for light manufacturing, which is claimed will enable Palauans to move out of the central city and back to rural villages.

The undeveloped area of north Babeldaob is drawing interest from tuna canneries because of Palau's trading privileges with the US.

Our correspondent, Scott Radway, says the project would also give Palauans an alternative to earning a living in Koror.

"they don't live there anymore just cos the jobs aren't there. So it would really be a big turn around if something like the free trade zone opened up, people would be intent on moving back to their villages."

Mr Radway says there has been considerable interest from well known American tuna canneries.