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Community Briefs

Gov. Togiola Tulafono has invited Indonesian companies wanting to export products to the U.S., to work with American Samoa, whose exports receive duty free status and this move is supported by the Chamber of Commerce chairman.

Speaking on his radio program, the governor shared with radio listeners his recent visit to Indonesia and meetings with that country’s president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and cabinet members. The governor was accompanied on the trip by local Commerce Department deputy director Lelei Peau and Chamber of Commerce chairman David Robinson.

During the meeting, Togiola says, he discussed the benefits of American Samoa as a territory of the U.S., which includes duty free export status. Togiola says Indonesia has many types of manufacturing industries - including canned tuna products, which are exported to the territory.

He reminded the public that the local cannery manufactures canned tuna products for export to the U.S. only.

Togiola says he has extended an invitation to Yudhoyono for any Indonesian company wanting to export to the U.S. to work with American Samoa for the duty free export benefits.

Yudhoyono was very pleased and accepted the invitation and that country’s senior cabinet officials will work with territorial officials, said Togiola, who added that Peau provided to the Indonesian officials a thorough explanation about this type of export program and other federal benefits through association with American Samoa.

Togiola says he hopes discussions between the two sides will be fruitful in the future through the work of the Indonesian government and the local ASG and Chamber of Commerce.

The governor also spoke on his radio program about his proposal for direct flights by Garuda Indonesia between the Asian country and American Samoa. (See yesterday’s story for full details on air service talks).

Asked for comments on these two particular issues raised by the governor on his radio program, Robinson told Samoa News, that he “endorses” the governor’s comments.

“We shall ask the Air Transport Marketing study contractor to include this discussion with Garuda in their report, and we shall continue to progress opportunities with our contacts” in North Sulawesi Province of Indonesia on the issue of companies wanting to export to the U.S., he said.

Early last month the Procurement Office awarded to Washington D.C. based UBM Aviation—ASM, the close to $600,000 contract to conduct the air transport marketing study to assess the needs and market for expanded air cargo and passenger transportation services in and out of Pago Pago International Airport.


The federal court in Honolulu has agreed to holding next month the settlement conference hearing in the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s civil suit against the American Samoa Government, accused of pushing older workers to retire thereby violating the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

A settlement conference was initially set for February next year but it is now scheduled for Dec. 11, before U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Puglisi, who on Wednesday this week issued an order saying that experience teaches that settlement conferences are often unproductive unless the parties have exchanged demands and offers before the conference and made a serious effort to settle the case on their own.

Accordingly, before arriving at the conference, the parties are to negotiate and make a good faith effort to settle the case without the involvement of the Court. Specific proposals and counter proposals shall be made. If settlement is not achieved before the settlement conference, the parties shall be prepared to engage in further negotiation at the conference.

The purpose of the settlement conference is to facilitate settlement of this case, if that is appropriate. It will be conducted in such a manner as not to prejudice any party in the event settlement is not reached, and a mediation format will be used.