16 Aug 2005

American Samoa tuna canneries in jeopardy if tax law expires

1:53 pm on 16 August 2005

The US Department of Interior says the end of tax breaks for US companies working in insular areas will cause the loss of tuna canneries in American Samoa.

The department has published a report entitled "Fires in Paradise: The Looming Economic and Financial Crisis in the US Insular Areas."

The departmental economist, Wali M. Osman, underlines the possible consequences if a crucial section of the US Internal Revenue Code isn't renewed before it expires at the end of this year.

The law gives US companies doing business in the territories tax benefits.

The two tuna canneries in American Samoa have profited from this federal provision for many years.

Dr Osman says the economic and financial importance of the canneries to American Samoa cannot be exaggerated.

He says they employ more than one-third of the territory's payroll workers, and pay taxes that are critical to the American Samoa treasury.

The territory's delegate in the US Congress, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, has a federal bill pending in the US House to extend the tax law for another ten years for American Samoa only.