Territory shows significant 2021 business growth despite pandemic
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Governor’s State of the Territory Comprehensive Report distributed to a Joint Session of the Fono earlier this month cites an increase in the number of business licenses issued by the Commerce Department (DOC) which works jointly with DoH to enforce local business laws.
As of Dec. 31st last year, approximately 4,616 business licenses were issued for 2021 — an increase by 42.51% of businesses in American Samoa, according to the report, which notes that this is a “record high for registered business licenses” on island, and “a significant increase in our Territorial business growth for 2021.”
“This positive trend,” the report says, “is a result of contributing factors including a streamlined business licensing process — online and in-person, improved joint-agency enforcement measures, and newly developed industries through federally funded programs during these challenging times of the global [COVID-19] pandemic”.
The DOC online application process has made it more convenient for business owners here and abroad to register in a timely manner. Applying for a business license in American Samoa is now available on the Department of Commerce website to anyone across the globe to apply, the report says.
DOC online business application portal on is on its website [www.doc.as.gov] under the section, Application Center. And it provides information on what’s needed to apply for a new business license online and renew a business license online.
The governor’s report also addressed improvements in enforcement, which enable the DOC “to spot-check 211 business licenses” on a routine and/or unannounced business inspection in coordination with DoH’s Environmental Health Services Division (EHSD) on non-compliant food establishments and non- compliant business activities.
Last year, the DOC conducted joint inspections with DoH to shut down and enforce American Samoa’s business laws for over 34 business establishments and 59 business licenses.
“Our joint enforcement efforts have generated more revenues,” the report points out. “Our goal is to hold all local businesses accountable for their service(s) to the people of American Samoa and in accordance with the law.”
Furthermore, DOC has been working closely with the Department of Legal Affairs’ Consumer Protection Bureau (CPB) to handle customer complaints on price gouging and selling of over-the- counter medication without US Food and Drug Administration approval.
“This joint effort with the CPB is well within the guidelines and restrictions set forth in the territory’s current [COVID-19] State of Public Health Emergency declaration,” it says.
Provisions of the emergency declaration, establishing a “State of Emergency” in according to local law, prohibits “price gouging” and that all violations will be “prosecuted vigorously to the full extent of the law.
Additionally, the Attorney General is authorized to request justification from any business deemed to have substantially increased its prices during this Health Emergency period.