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Official Name - Territory of American Samoa
Land Area - 199 sq km (over 5 islands and 2 atolls)
Population - 66,432 (July 2010 estimate)
Capital City - Pago Pago
Religion - Christian Congregational: 50%, Roman Catholic: 20%, Protestant and other: 30%
Official Languages - Samoan and English
Currency - US Dollar
EEZ - 200 nautical miles
Political system - Unincorporated and unorganised territory of the United States; administered by the Office of Insular Affairs and the United States Department of the Interior.
National legislature - Bicameral Fono or Legislative Assembly consists of the House of Representatives (21 seats – 20 of which are elected by popular vote and 1 is an appointed; members serve two-year terms) and the Senate (18 seats – members are elected from local chiefs and serve four-year terms). American Samoa elects one non-voting representative to the US House of Representatives. Incumbent Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin (Democrat) has been the American Samoan representative since 1989.
Last election -
House of Representatives - November 2010 Governor/Lt Governor - November 2008
Next election - House of Representatives - November 2014Governor/Lt Governor - November 2012
Head of State - US President Barack Obama
Head of Government -
Governor Togiola T.A. Tulafono
Senate Appointments - Members of the Senate are appointed by village councils, rather than general election, and serve a 4 year term, with the term of current appointments spanning from 2008-2012.
US$575 million (2007 estimate, purchasing power parity method)
GDP per capita - US$8,000 per capita (2007 estimate)
Exports - US$ 446 million (2004 fiscal year estimate)
Main Exports - Canned tuna (93%), fresh fruit and vegetables
Export Partners - Samoa (40%); Australia (20%); Japan (15%); NZ (11%). (2004)
US$ 308.8 million (2004 fiscal year estimate)
Main Imports - Materials for canneries (56%); food; petroleum products; machinery and parts
Import Partners - Japan (31%); New Zealand (28%); Germany (17%); Australia (9%). (2004)
Budget - US$155 million in income, US$184 million in expenditure (2007 fiscal year)
NZ Exports (FOB) - NZ$33.594 million (year ending December 2009)
Prepared meat, sheep meat, timber, sugar, iron/steel containers, salt (2009)
NZ Imports (CIF) - NZ$3.221 million (year ending December 2009)
Main Imports - Ferrous waste/scrap, medicaments (2009)
International rivalries in the latter half of the 19th century were settled by an 1899 treaty in which Germany and the United States of America (US) divided the Samoan archipelago. Germany occupied Western Samoa, while the US formally occupied its portion – a smaller group of eastern islands with the excellent harbour of Pago Pago in 1900.
Following elections in November 2010, Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin secured his eleventh term, as American Samoa’s representative in the US Congress. The next elections are due in November 2014. Tauese Sunia was nearing the end of his second term as American Samoa's Governor when he died in March 2003. His Lieutenant-Governor, Togiola Tulafono, replaced him as Governor and was successful in the 2004 and 2008 elections in securing renewed four-year terms as Governor.
A referendum proposing changes to the constitution held at the same time as the November 2010 election was soundly defeated with over two thirds of the votes rejecting the proposed changes.
Economic activity is strongly linked to the US, with which American Samoa conducts most of its trade. The Pacific tsunami, which struck in September 2009, killed 31 people in American Samoa and caused wide-spread damage to infrastructure, including tuna processing plants which form the backbone of the private sector. Canned tuna has been the Territory’s primary export. The canneries for several years benefited from tax relief under US "Section 936" legislation, but closures in 2009 have caused economic stress. Transfers from the US Government add substantially to American Samoa's economic well-being, with additional post-disaster support since the tsunami.
American Samoa is a member of the:
New Zealand and American Samoa maintain official contacts through the New Zealand Consul-General to American Samoa (located in Apia, Samoa), and in Washington DC through the New Zealand Embassy and office of Congressman Faleomavaega.
A Trade Mission from Manukau City Council visited Pago Pago in August 2009 and Governor Togiola Tulafono attended the Memorial Service for victims of the Pacific Tsunami in Auckland in November 2009, along with the Prime Ministers of New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga.
New Zealand has reasonable trade and economic links with American Samoa, although there is room for further growth. New Zealand accounted for 28% of imports to American Samoa in 2005. In addition to the presence of New Zealand construction companies in American Samoa, there are a number of other links with New Zealand, including medical referrals, employment of New Zealand doctors, and provision of training (e.g. through Manukau Institute of Technology for Power Authority employees). New Zealand tuna fishing vessels (from Siminovich and Sanfords) fish in the Pacific region and supply the American Samoan canneries.
In November 2010, it was announced that New Zealand company Fletcher Building had won a contract to rebuild 33 homes destroyed in the 8.1 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami of 29 September, 2009.
Visits to American Samoa
Visits from American Samoa
New Zealand and American Samoa maintain official contacts through:The New Zealand Consul-General to American Samoa (located in Apia, Samoa) and the New Zealand Embassy and Congressman Faleomavaega in Washington DC
The Safe Travel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to American Samoa [external link].