Tonga timber deal with American Samoa formalized
A deal worth US$205,000 for Tongan Caribbean Pine power poles was signed last week in Apia, between American Samoa and Aotearoa-Tonga Forest Products Ltd, a former Tonga Government public enterprise.
The deal is a two-year supply agreement for 500 30-foot Class 4 and 100 40-foot Class 1 Caribbean Pine power poles between the two countries.
The agreement came about from a Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of the Kingdom of Tonga and American Samoa on Principles of Economic Cooperation, signed on 21 April 1986.
Utu Abe Malae, CEO of American Samoa Power Authority, said the “Caribbean Pines were planted in 1986, the year HM King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV and Governor AP Lutali penned a trade memorandum of understanding between Tonga and American Samoa“.
“The trees are now fully matured and ready for marketing and American Samoa is buying the power poles from Tonga...how cool is that?”
He said the “poles are structurally stronger and denser than several other kinds of wooden poles but linemen can still ascend them using climbing gear as well as ladders or bucket trucks”.
He added that they had purchased 30 and 40 foot power poles from the United State’s Pacific Northwest but under this contract, the “cost of power poles and shipping is significantly reduced”.
"The quality of power poles meets international electric utility industry specifications and requirements."
The contract was endorsed by American Samoa Power Authority’s (ASPA) Chairman, Fonoti Perelini Perelini, CEO, Utu Abe Malae, Managing Director, Paul Michael Young; and Aotearoa-Tonga Forest Product Limited’s Director, Soane Ramanlal and CEO Penisimani Vea.