Annual 2Samoa Talks to be held next month in Samoa
The annual Two Samoa Talks has been moved to later next month and will be hosted by Samoa, said Commerce Department director Keniseli Lafaele, during a cabinet meeting Tuesday.
Held at the Gov. Rex Lee Auditorium, the cabinet meeting was also when Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga officially informed cabinet members that Samoa has selected a new Head of State, Tuimaleali’ifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II.
Samoa’s Counsel General in American Samoa, Auseugaefa Va’asatia Poloma Komiti, told Samoa News last week that Tuimaleali’ifano will officially become the new Head of State on July 26th, while the term of current Head of State Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, ends on July 25th.
Lafaele said the annual Executive Summit of the two Samoas headed by Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga and Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi was initially set for Aug. 3 and 4. However, it has since been moved to the third week of August due to the governor’s overseas trip towards the end of this month.
According to the DOC director, it is the Two Samoa Talks Joint Samoa Economic Integration Committee that met more regularly in the past 4 years. This committee is co-chaired by Lafaele — on behalf of the American Samoa Government, and the CEO of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labor for Samoa, who sometimes alternated with the CEO of Samoa's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, on behalf of the Samoa government.
Lafaele said the Economic Integration Committee will be calling a meeting soon to prepare for the annual Executive Summit.
The Summit covers a broader range of subjects in addition to Economic Integration- Immigration/Legal Issues, Mutual legal assistance, Telecommunications, Energy/Utilities/Infrastructure, Transport, Joint Disaster Preparedness, Tourism, Sports, Health, Youth/Women/Culture, Climate Change/Environment, and Education.
Other key areas, aside from economic integration, includes renewable energy; standardizing terminology for tsunami & cyclone warnings; annual health summit of the two Samoas; and collaboration on issues of mutual importance relating to youth, women, and culture, according to Lafaele’s presentation at the cabinet meting.
Lafaele also shared with cabinet directors several key areas of discussion from last year’s summit. For example, in the area of ‘trade in goods’, discussions focused on tariff reduction and Value Added Goods and Services Tax Exemption.
Immigration included tourism and business permits; for transportation, discussions focused on air transport — airfares and shipping; for financial and banking service — it dealt with money transfer businesses to open local bank accounts.
Another area of great interest for the two Samoas focused on professional training opportunities in specialized fields, such as education and medicine.
Lafaele encouraged key ASG agencies and partners to play an instrumental role in relevant areas of discussions. Among the agencies are ASTCA, Agriculture, Commerce, Legal Affairs, Visitors Bureau, Port Administration, and Marine and Wildlife Resources. For the private sector partners, it's the Chamber of Commerce.
Lolo called on Lafaele and other members of the American Samoa delegation to work on firming up a summit date.