The Hotel Elisa conference room was the venue for the monthly members meeting of the Samoa Chamber of Commerce last Monday.
Three guest speakers – M.N.R.E. Coordinator Fiona Sapatu, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Officer Maxine Hunter and Dr Hans Maurer of AgriChain presented after four new members were introduced from Fuatino’s Natural Products, Reti Consultants, Leilua Barber Shop and Hair Salon and AgriChain.
Fiona Sapatu, M.N.R.E. Coordinator highlighted the upcoming developments set to take place for the Apia Waterfront Project. It was re-emphasized that the Apia Waterfront Project aims to be an attractive destination, connecting people to unique places and Samoan experiences.
Chamber members enquired the development plan’s considerations for the impacts of climate change and the need for climate change resilience infrastructure. In addition, enquiries were raised regarding the Ports Expansion project and its implications on the intended plan along the Marina.
Fiona reassured the gathering that climate change resilience is a key aspect of their planning process, further highlighting that the Apia Waterfront Development Project is a long-term plan, receptive to being revised based on consultations with the public.
With the launch of the Draft Waterfront Plan, further consultations are being carried out with final submissions for feedback by the public which closed on Friday 30th September.
Maxine Hunter of M.F.A.T. presented on the PACER Plus Trade Agreement, as well as to update Samoa’s preparation in light of further negotiations. It was highlighted that the negotiations look to secure opportunities and benefits for Samoa, with regards to improved trade facilitation, reduction of trade costs for exports and services, better access to overseas good and services and increase in labor mobility opportunities.
The presentation was an opportunity to engage Chamber members in the PACER plus dialogue as well as to inform the private sector of the proposed trade agreement.
Members’ main concerns with PACER Plus were;
1.) Our Government should take time to fully determine the positives and negatives of PACER Plus before signing off.
2.) We need to strategize on how we might be able to replace duty income that we will forgo due to joining PACER Plus. This will support a notion for a comprehensive tax review for Samoa.
Dr. Hans Maurer of AgriChain NZ delivered a special presentation on the Samoa Cocoa Value Chain Development Project. This is a five year programme funded by New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in partnership with Samoa Chamber of Commerce and Industry which aims to provide support for Samoa’s cocoa industry. The Project has held two workshops this week in Upolu and Savaii, for the relevant stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed approach for the design of the project.
The Samoa Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc. as the National Private Sector Organization (N.P.S.O.) is funded by the Pacific Leadership Program (P.L.P.).