03 October 2012

                  Inter-Samoa talks

Leaders from American Samoa and Samoa will meet next month in Pago Pago for the first time in six years.

The inter-Samoa talks were begun more than 20 years ago under a memorandum of understanding signed between the then Governor A.P Lutali and Prime Minister Vaai Kolone.

Successive governments and administrations have continued the talks, which are usually held annually and Samoa and American Samoa take turns hosting them.

The last talks were held in 2006 but department level cooperation has continued.

Officials of the Department of Commerce, the Governor’s Office and the American Samoa Chamber of Commerce are drawing up an agenda for the talks.


American Samoa to host Inter Samoa talks 

Leaders of American Samoa and Samoa along with their government representatives will convene next month in Pago Pago for the “Inter Samoa Talks”, which cover a wide range of mutual issues and understanding between the two sides.

Speaking on his weekend radio program, Gov. Togiola Tulafono says the talks are set for Oct. 8 and 9, hosted by American Samoa as the previous meeting was hosted by Samoa.

The governor didn’t specify any particular matters for discussion this year, but he says that there are some new issues that have come up since the last Inter Samoa Talks and that was a while back. He said these new issues require both sides to continue these talks and Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi will lead his government and private sector delegation.

It’s understood that two of the issues for discussion deal with fisheries and fishing boundaries and telecommunications, which has been strengthened further between the two Samoas with the undersea fiber optic cable, owned by the American Samoa Hawai’i Cable (ASH-Cable) LLC, the company that is 33% owned by the territorial government.

ASH Cable also owns the subsidiary, Samoa American Samoa LLC, the fiber optic cable line of ASH Cable linking American Samoa and Samoa.

The Governor’s Office is expected to release soon details of the agenda for the meeting. Some of the main issues that have been discussed over the years include health, customs, immigration, utility service and border control as well as trade.

This will be Togiola’s last meeting of the Inter Samoa Talks as his term as governor officially ends on Jan. 3 next year. Samoa News archives show that the last Inter Samoa Talks were held in 2007 in Samoa, where among the issues discussed was a joint working relationship between the Chamber of Commerce of the two Samoas.