The United States, for more than a century, have enjoyed close bilateral relations with the Government and people of Samoa.
The point was highlighted by the U.S. Ambassador to Samoa and New Zealand, Scott Brown, in Samoa last week. He was speaking during a reception at Vailima to commemorate the U.S.-funded school renovations at Safata District and other projects.
In attendance was the Head of State, His Highness Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mataafa, Cabinet Ministers, Members of the diplomatic corps, and invited guests.
Mr. Brown said Samoa and the U.S. had enjoyed long-term economic benefits.
“You may have noticed many American companies and products are already present in Samoa. U.S. companies employing Samoans include McDonald’s, Ford Motors, Sheraton, Coconuts Beach Resort, Western Union, National Pacific Insurance, Matson Shipping, First Solar, and Netvo,” he said.
“And South Pacific Distributors just commenced selling its beverage products in Samoa this week and another American company, Dr. Bronner’s is going to start using Samoan coconut oil to produce its soap products this year.”
“Samoan fishing vessels can offload their catch directly at the StarKist Cannery in American Samoa. This has been a fantastic win-win situation for the fishing industry in both of our countries.”
Mr. Brown explained: “The United States also makes indirect gestures of friendship to Samoa through the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Global Climate Fund, and I.M.F. This assistance includes large grants and low interest loans for infrastructure projects that promote economic development.
“Our Government has also built a hospital to help with the average Samoan’s medical needs, and refurbished schools to make sure your children are given every opportunity for the best education. U.S.A.I.D, our development agency, has worked with you on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.”
“Our Peace Corps presence here is a daily reminder of our commitment to you and our pledge to continue to work together in every corner of your islands to help where we can.”
The U.S, being Samoa’s second largest trading partner and close neighbour, allows both countries to enjoy extensive cross-cultural ties, robust trade with one another, and also confront similar economic, environmental, and sustainable fishing challenges and concerns.
“The United States-Samoa bilateral relationship is consistently strong and mutually beneficial. We look for ways to partner with Samoa on economic development, raise Samoa’s maritime domain awareness capability, address climate change and manage its effects, as well as increase people to people ties,” Mr. Brown said.
Mr. Brown shared the importance of people in any bilateral relationship and why the U.S. values the Samoan people.
“The United States and Samoan citizens have a long history of friendship and support that we are constantly working to build upon and expand.”
“We sponsor students and the leaders of tomorrow to take part in international programs and conference; we provide grants to a wide range of groups here. We’re involved in all the areas that matter to you, because they also matter to us.”
“Things like cultural preservation, keeping our history alive, empowering women to become ever more present in our workforces and governments, agricultural research to make our products the best they can be, educational investments in today’s scholars for a better future, Fulbright exchanges, and a host of other worthy projects.”
He mentioned the U.S. has regularly sponsored envoys to share their experiences in sports and culture in Samoa.
“Just since my last visit in July, the embassy brought out Olympian gold medalist, Ruthie Bolton, to conduct basketball clinics for children. She also inspired audiences with her personal story as a survivor of domestic violence, sharing her experience and offering support to Samoan women enduring similar situations.”
“In November, the Embassy sponsored the New York City-based Ari Rowland Jazz Quartet to come out and participate in your Jazz and Arts Festival. While here, they also performed at schools, community centers, a non-profit event and a senior citizens center.”
Mr. Brown explained: “The United States Coast Guard provides law enforcement, humanitarian, and operational support to Samoa. This includes our Shiprider Program, conducting humanitarian missions and bilateral exchanges, and offering training for local security and law enforcement.”
He says as the U.S. ambassador he looks forward to forging closer economic, political and closer social ties between the two nations.
Mr. Brown shared: “The last time I was here, I visited a primary school, and when I realized they did not have enough computers for the students, I immediately reached out to my contacts to see how we could help.”
“Thankfully, my friends at Petone Rotary Club and Hewlett-Packard stepped up to the plate, graciously donating five computers and two printers for Samoan students. Today I visited the school again and saw their new computer lab in action. It warmed my heart and I wish to thank Petone Rotary and H.P. for their quick action and generosity.”
He also paid tribute to his wife and children’s support towards his diplomatic responsibility.
Mr. Brown also reassured the U.S. presence in the region.
“Our commitment to the Pacific region is just as strong as it ever was, and this will not change. I look forward to working with all of you.”