15 Oct 2005

American Samoa congressman seeks to avert Thai-US tuna deal

8:24 am on 15 October 2005

A trade agreement that could spell disaster for American Samoa's tuna canning industry is currently under negotiation.

Recent attention has focused on whether or not the United States will renew its tax incentives for the canneries.

But cannery officials say Thailand is trying to broker a deal with the US to give tuna imports from Thailand duty free access into the US.

Talks have been held in Honolulu recently but American Samoa's Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says he's making sure that Thailand won't get the upper hand.

"I'm going through the proper channels of communication, with people that are involved with this, especially the US trade representative's office, we're making sure that this doesn't happen. Quite obviously, if this is ever permitted with Thailand, it's going to open a whole floodgate. I'm very much aware of it, and this is another aspect of our tuna industry that I'm trying to defend and making sure that Thailand doesn't get the upper hand."