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U.S looks to develop more trade and investments with Pacific Island nations

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The economies of American Samoa and Samoa as well as twenty other Pacific island countries and territories is the focus of a federal probe and review, following a request by Ambassador Kathrine Tai of the Office of the U.S Trade Representative (USTR).

“The United States recognizes the importance of enhancing trade ties with the Pacific Islands countries, which can help support the development of the region,” Tai wrote in a letter to U.S International Trade Commission chairman, David S. Johanson.

Tai said that USTR “is interested in understanding ways to enhance our trade relationship with the Pacific Islands.”

“In order to inform future U.S. policy approaches, we seek to better understand potential impediments to and opportunities for increased trade flows between the United States and the Pacific Islands, with an emphasis on barriers Pacific Islands may face exporting to the United States,” she explained.

USTR would also like to identify impediments to and opportunities for increased U.S. investment in the Pacific Islands.

Therefore, Tai said the USTR requested that the Commission conduct an investigation and prepare a report — in accordance with federal law — to analyze Pacific Island trade with the U.S and identify impediments to increased goods and services exports to the United States and U.S. investment in the Pacific Islands.

The letter also included the list of 22 “Pacific Islands” that are to be covered in the investigation. And USTR’s request covers six specific areas for the Commission to provide in their report.  For example — provide an overview of the Pacific Island economies, including major sectors in production, consumption, trade, and employment.

Additionally, describe goods and services exports from the Pacific Islands during the period 2017–21, and identify major factors that impact those exports to the United States.

Furthermore, describe foreign investment in the Pacific Islands during the period 2017-21; and identify major factors affecting investment from the United States.

USTR requested that the Commission deliver its report no later than 12 months from the date of this letter (Sept. 29, 2022). As USTR intends to make the report available to the public in its entirety, although the report should not include any confidential business information or classified information.

USTR’s letter specified the 22 Pacific independent countries, Freely Associated States, U.S territories and non-independent countries and territories to be covered in the Commission’s investigation.

In a Nov. 02 public notice, the Commission announced the investigation requested by USTR and a public hearing is set for Feb. 14, 2023. The notice also provides addresses to submit comments. (See federal portal - www.regulations.gov — for details, as well as the notice, under document number: ITC-2022-0417-0001.

More information on USTR online (www.ustr.gov).