14 May 2012

American Samoa government blames US for some of its economic woes

1:01 pm on 14 May 2012

The American Samoa government says some actions by the United States government such as enforcing a mandatory wage increase have contributed to the territory's worsening economy in recent years.

The claims are made in its request for proposals for an air transport study, funded by the US Department of Interior.

The government states that the territory's huge distances to markets, as well as a small labor force, are conditions contributing to the territory's low per capita income and high unemployment rates relative to the US.

It also cites the economic effects of the 2009 earthquake and tsunami and says efforts to help victims of the tsunami were severely hampered because of the infrequent air service.

But it also says actions by the U.S. government such as the loss of federal corporate tax credits, and the US trade agreements which compromised American Samoa's largest employer, the tuna canning industry, have hurt the economy.

Another critical factor the government claims was the mandatory wage increases for American Samoa that went into effect in 2007.