USA: (more) subsidies to the processing industry - tuna canneries in American Samoa

More "life-support" measures for the ailing tuna canning industry in American Samoa.

Hereunder a copy a press release by the American Samoa Government announcing President Obama's decision to delay for two years the federally mandated minimum wage increase.

Published on American Samoa Government (http://americansamoa.gov)

Home > President Obama signs H.R. 3940 to delay American Samoa minimum wage increase for two years


President Obama signs H.R. 3940 to delay American Samoa minimum wage increase for two years
Created 09/30/2010 - 15:41
Submitted by Newsroom on Thu, 09/30/2010 - 15:41
(UTULEI: Thursday, September 30, 2010) –Governor Togiola Tulafono today expressed his sincere gratitude to President Barack Obama for signing legislation that will delay the minimum wage increase scheduled to take effect in American Samoa for 2010 and 2011.

Governor Togiola said the delay in minimum wage hike, through H.R. 3940, is a much-needed blessing for the Territory.

“We have truly been spared another disaster and this hold on the minimum wage increase, even if it’s for only two years, will allow us time to work with this very important issue,” said Governor Togiola. “I am very grateful to President Obama for his favorable consideration and expeditious action. When I received the great news this afternoon, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, and thanked God for His direction and help. The minimum wage issue has made it impossible to attract investments because of the uncertainty it has created. I truly welcome this two-year suspension, but it is not the ultimate solution we need.”

Governor Togiola said there are so many hardworking and caring people to thank for the wonderful news for American Samoa.

“It is important to give credit where it is due. I want to thank Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii for his continuing support of American Samoa and helping to direct our attention to issues that we can address effectively to help our own cause. I wish to also express my thanks to our Congressman Faleomavaega Eni for his role in keeping track of this situation and asking the Senate and the House memberships for this relief. I look forward to our efforts in working with him for a permanent solution to our minimum wage to propose in the future.”

Governor Togiola also thanked U.S. senators and representatives and their respective staffs for their support in the successful passage of this very important federal legislation for American Samoa.

“This great news is also giving me hope that we will be able to work with Congress, on both sides of the aisle, to forge a permanent solution to the wage issues as well as our economic development needs. If we do not have a permanent solution for this issue, it will continue to be a major set back for near future developments. We need a permanent solution that makes sense for us and will help us effect more effective economic development,” said Governor Togiola. “I wish to recognize with gratitude and appreciation the special understanding given to my plea to U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and his staff. I have never met the senator, but the good relations that my Washington staff have with him and his staff have enabled us to appeal to him for help, and he was gracious in his response and assurances.”

Governor Togiola gave thanks to the White House staff for their support in always being helpful; and also to his attorney and staff in Washington D.C. for the great assistance and diligence in pursuing Congressional help to achieve success in this matter.

“I wish to also thank the Fono for their support and I know that our people here in American Samoa have also been praying for relief, and God has answered us favorably. We give thanks to God for His guiding hand in these endeavors,” said Governor Togiola. “We have truly been spared another disaster, so now we have a lot of work to do in the next two years to ensure that this issue is resolved in the best interest of our people and our businesses.”




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NZ/WTO: Tim Groser on film stars and WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations

Some of the readers of this blog may remeber that on 1 February 2010 I wrote a post commenting Tim Groser’s speech in London on 8 December 2009 titled “Trade and Climate Change: A Negotiator's Perspective”.

In this speech Mr Groser, former Chair of the WTO’s negotiating group where fisheries subsidies are discussed, sets out his views on the dynamics of international negotiations. I can not resist the temptation to re-copy here some of the passages of his December 2009 speech.

"There will be film stars, vegans, people running around in polar bear suits. This is, ladies and gentlemen, international diplomacy in action. Is it likely to lead to anything useful?”
“Highly experienced and astute Secretariat officials, working closely with experienced negotiators from a number of countries, will be developing a text covering the key issues contained in the unmanageable draft legal text and on which firm political decisions are required - mitigation targets, financing in both the short and long term, capacity building and other key elements of the earlier Bali Action Plan.”
Well, Mr Groser revisited these subjects, i.e. the dynamics of international negotiations and the role of film starts, in his address to the international Food and Agriculture Trade Policy Council (IPC) Conference in Sao Paulo.

In this post I will comment Mr. Groser’s comments on the role film stars (or Hollywood) in international negotiations:
“We should be thankful for small mercies. With complete collapse staring us in the face, we salvaged at least the Copenhagen Accord. This was produced by a small group of Heads of Governments of some major countries, operating in an unplanned and one could say haphazard way.
They had no choice, and thank goodness they did take the initiative. However, it was a modest return from the investment of so much high-priced political talent - not to mention the pre-Copenhagen hype, based around the absurd negotiating scenario of ‘No Plan B'. I will leave to others to describe the contribution made by Hollywood film stars to the process. Rationality, one could say, was at a premium and we paid the price in terms of the mediocrity of the result.”
So, Mr Groser leaves to others to describe the contribution made by Hollywood film stars to the process. Thinking of what happens in the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations I am sure that OCEANA will describe the contribution of film stars to these negotiations as very positive. They invited Ted Danson to come to Geneva (see my post of 31/10/2009 titled “WTO: fisheries subsidies and Hollywood under the same roof”) to persuade negotiators to rapidly conclude the Doha round so that an agreement could be reached in new fisheries subsidies rules.

By the way, that OCEANA values very much the role of film stars in WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations is also demonstrated by the fact that that he testified before a the US Senate Committee on Finance (Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness) on 14/07/2010 as OCEANA Board Member.

But Ted Danson is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the links of OCEANA with Hollwywood. Check OCEANA’s webapges on its SeaChange Summer Parties. The list of film actors is rather long.

A final comment on Ted Danson: interestingly Ted Danson joined the “Bored to Death” comedy television series. I hope he will not be “Bored to death” because of the lack of progress in the Doha negotiations.

What is not clear to me is what Mr. Groser meant with the closing sentence in the paragraph dealing with film stars: “Rationality, one could say, was at a premium and we paid the price in terms of the mediocrity of the result.” I can not believe Mr. Groser was speaking about fisheries subsidies negotiations. My reading is that he was talking about climate change negotiations only.

This is a first delivery in my comments on Ted Groser speech. There will be other posts especially on the part of the speech about why he considers the fisheries subsides negotiations as worthwhile.

Here are two links where readers will find Tim Groser’s speech: