5 Apr 2010

American Samoa assured StarKist cannery will stay

1:14 pm on 5 April 2010

The American Samoan member of the US Congress, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, says he has received assurances from the Chairman of Dongwon Corporation, which owns StarKist Samoa, that there are no immediate plans for the cannery to leave American Samoa.

The congressman met Mr Kim Jae-chul during a recent visit to Thailand.

He says Mr Kim says his company will work with American Samoa as long as it is feasible.

But Faleomavaega says StarKist is operating at a loss and while he appreciates StarKist's commitment to the people of American Samoa, no-one can or should expect StarKist to continue operating at a loss or to stay in the territory if it cannot compete effectively.

He says the so-called ASPIRE bill, which would provide federal incentives to canneries that can tuna in American Samoa and fishing boats which sell directly to local canneries, is still being worked on.

He says he is working closely with the administration to modify the bill in a way that would be helpful to American Samoa without hurting workers in California, Georgia and Puerto Rico.

Faleomavaega also says he and StarKist are also working on a federal tax incentive package that would provide a more long-term solution for broad-based economic growth and development for the industry.