The country’s biggest private employer Yazaki EDS Samoa Ltd is set to officially shut its door on 25 August 2017.
This was confirmed by Cabinet in a media statement.
“Cabinet has noted the 25th of August 2017, as the end of production date for the Yazaki EDS Samoa Ltd. in Samoa,” the statement reads.
“The Yazaki company has scheduled a farewell function to take place at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, Vailima.”
The company first revealed its plan to shut down its operations in Samoa last October. And since then Yazaki launched trades training for its employees in sewing fabric tie etc. The focus by Yazaki is for employees to gain skills or find new employments when the company closes.
More than 700 employees will be affected when the company closes.
Last year, Y.E.S. Branding Division Manager in Japan, Yoko Yamada, said the closure is due to the car manufacturing industry in Australia winding up.
He said the latest developments in the market there have had a “knock on impact here,” forcing the company to re-evaluate the viability of their operation in Samoa.
“The demands of the market for shorter lead times and more flexibility coupled with the logistics connections to Samoa make it commercially un-viable to supply any other market for example U.S.A. or Japan from here,” he said.
“As a result we have been trying to identify other alternatives for this operation. Unfortunately we have not been able to identify anything viable and must therefore announce that we will phase out production operations in Samoa.”
Y.E.S. President, Craig O’Donohue said the situation is difficult but the company has no choice. According to the Mr. O’Donohue when the car company first announced closure of their manufacturing operation in Australia Y.E.S. immediately at the time engaged in discussion with the government of Samoa and other options outside the comfort zone of the company.
“We had about eight key programmes anything from tourism to shipping, agriculture, textiles,” he recalled.
“We put together a crazy summary of business opportunities. We looked strongly at breadfruit opportunities to make flour. There have been a lot of research done in that area and also agriculture, but that project is quite foreign to Yazaki operation. Yazaki has some experience with agriculture and was interest in that but with those we just couldn’t find a viable business.”
The President added one of the worst things for them is to start something and make a mess of it. “And that is why decided we could not continue on,” he said.
This is Yazaki’s 26th year of operation in Samoa.