“AMERICAN SAMOA HELPS SAMOA WITH USDA CERTIFICATION PROCESS”

Dear Editor,

We would like to assure the public that American Samoa is deeply committed to helping Samoa achieve USDA certification. To this end, we were heartened to read a recent Savali News article that quoted Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Fosi Schmidt as hailing this a “unified effort” to solve a “complex issue.” (“MAF dealing directly with USDA on meat ban” by Nanai Lavetiga Tuiletufuga; September 19, 2016).

We were recently disheartened to read a recent Samoa News article, citing the Savali report, that inexplicably gives the opposite impression, going so far as to attribute a quote to the Minister that is nowhere to be found in this report (“Samoa moving forward to start USDA certification to export meat to US and Am. Samoa- Not waiting on Pago anymore” by Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu; September 26, 2016).

Please note that American Samoa (via our Department of Agriculture and our Department of Commerce) were more than happy to assist Samoa in connecting the Samoa Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery (MAF) to the relevant US agency — the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). MAF is now dealing directly with APHIS/USDA in an effort to meet the strict requirements of the USDA pertaining to the export of meat products to the US markets (including American Samoa). We wish them nothing but success.

The Two-Samoa Talks produced some key positive results since 2013, in the areas of air and sea transportation, economic integration and trade, education, health care and immigration. Samoa and American Samoa participated in the successful “Global Ulu (Breadfruit) Summit” held in Hawaii in August 2016, and we will be holding talks with Samoa MAF about the possibility of co-hosting the global event in October 2017. The first “Ulu Summit” was held in American Samoa in December 2012. 

We are hopeful Samoa’s USDA application will be approved, as such would increase commerce between the two countries. And I am sure many locals wouldn’t mind the opportunity to enjoy for breakfast, lunch or dinner a nice bowl of hot “supo ivi povi” (Samoan beef bone soup, a delicacy) in Pago on a regular basis.

Cheers!   

Keniseli Lafaele

Department of Commerce

Government of American Samoa

(Editor’s Note: after checking with the Savali Editor, Samoa News has found out there were two stories in the Savall on the matter. The first was used in the story published in the Samoa News, the second is the story you refer to — where the department of AG said it was now working with American Samoa. Either case, it’s good to know they’re being pro-active. ra)

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