17 Oct 2014

Cautious optimism for processing plant in American Samoa

8:17 am on 17 October 2014

Plans for a food processing plant that promises about 700 jobs in American Samoa has been met with cautious optimism.

The Philippines company, AVM Bernardo Engineering, says the local operation would be a 100-million US dollar investment, and expects 95 percent of the employees will be locals.

Our correspondent says senators are cautioning that due diligence still needs to be done.

The chair of the American Samoa Chamber of Commerce, Lewis Wolman, says they welcome the news but not many people know the details of the plans.

"Over the years, a lot of people in American Samoa and elsewhere, other Pacific islands, has had groups come forward with big plans that didn't materialise, so I think it's correct to say there's cautious optimism. Definitely optimism, and the caution comes from having heard about plans in the past that never materialised and hoping that this one will be for real."

Lewis Wolman says the territory lost one of it's two canneries in 2009 and it's hoped the proposed plant could put some of the 2000 workers who lost their jobs, back to work.