15 Nov 2006

Business conference in Hawaii entices investment in region

2:57 pm on 15 November 2006

A Business Opportunities in the Islands conference in Honolulu aims to encourage more US businesses to invest in Pacific countries.

The presidents of the Marshall Islands, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia and representatives from the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the CNMI and the Virgin Islands are all attending.

The U.S. Interior Secretary, Dirk Kempthorne, said the U.S. territories and partner nations in the Pacific had untapped potential as they offered low-cost and politically stable opportunities for private investors.

Palau is encouraging ecotourism to luxury travellers, the Marshall Islands offers low taxes, while other nations touted low labor costs and pro-business governments.

Results from earlier conferences saw a California company opening a nursing home in Saipan, a cruise liner starting a service to Micronesia next year and an Oklahoma insurance company about to set up business in Guam.