A Private Sector Assessment for American Samoa

Tuesday, August 1, 2006
US Department of the Interior, Office of Insular Affairs - Jocelyn L. M. Doane Sara E. Gray

Excerpt from the Forward of the report:

This report is designed to be helpful to American Samoan policymakers who are looking for ways to make American Samoa more hospitable for private sector economic development. We don’t pretend to have all of the answers; we’re just trying to make a constructive contribution to the conversation. This report analyzes policy from the perspective of impact on the business climate. We realize that policymakers don’t have the luxury of examining policy from that perspective alone, and that social and political factors also have to be taken into account. We believe that it would be presumptuous of us to try to  evaluate local policies from a social or political perspective, and respect the prerogative of local leaders to perform that analysis. We would like the readers of this report to keep a couple of important things in mind. First, this report is designed to focus on areas where the business climate might be improved. The report may therefore appear to present a more negative picture of the business climate in the territory than is warranted. While the U.S. territories are not  perfect, their business climates are arguably much better than those in the many developing economies that routinely attract outside investment. All of the territories benefit from the protection of the U.S. flag and the U.S. legal system, duty-free access to the U.S. market, safety (including U.S. military  protection), U.S. financial support, use of the U.S. dollar, an English-speaking workforce that is well trained by the standards of the developing world and infrastructure that is good by the standards of the developing world. Each of the territories has its own particular competitive advantages as well. The reader should also keep in mind that this report is based upon conditions as we found them in the summer of 2006. It is always possible that subsequent events  could have a significant impact on how one might analyze the business climates of the territories. This report was created by two MBA students and reviewed and edited by the staff of the Office of Insular Affairs. We therefore consider the report to be a product of OIA. It is offered with the greatest humility out of the desire to be of service. We recognize that the future of American Samoa belongs to the people of its islands, and that the role of the  Federal Government is to provide our best information and analysis to help island leaders make informed decisions about their future. We hope that this report will be put to good use, and will help the people of American Samoa navigate their way to a strong, prosperous future.

David B. Cohen
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior
Washington, D.C.
December 2006


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