Samoa and the United States of America’s bilateral relationship is strong and mutually beneficial.
This is according to new Chargé d’Affaires of the American Embassy in Samoa, Antone Greubel.
He was speaking during a welcoming reception at Vailima on Tuesday night.
“The United States’ focus is to help Samoa build the capacity to respond to environmental threats, assist Samoa secure its borders and to promote sustainable economic development,” Mr Greubel said.
He believes that the United States is also Samoa’s closest neighbour.
“Two daily flights to Pagopago, cross cultural ties, extensive trade and the ability for Samoans to work in American Samoa perhaps best reflect this relationship.”
“On trade, the United States is Samoa’s second largest import destination and fourth largest source of exports.”
“The United States is the largest source of remittances to Samoa and American companies present in Samoa include McDonald’s, Sheraton, Western Union, National Pacific Insurance, Matson Shipping, First Solar and Netvo.”
“The United States also provides significant foreign assistance to Samoa indirectly through the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Global Climate Fund and I.M.F.
“This assistance is considerable with large grants provided to Samoa for climate change related projects and other infrastructure projects.”
The United States single largest contribution to Samoa is the Peace Corps, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary celebration this year in Samoa.
“Currently we have volunteers spread across schools in the country and doing valuable work at S.P.R.E.P.”
He added that United States Embassy assistance is in the form of small grants, Fulbright programmes and cultural exchange programmes bringing U.S. performance groups and professional athletes to Samoa.
“The United States has also built a hospital and schools in Samoa U.S.A.I.D. has focused on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.”
“Research ships from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration often make port calls in Apia while in the region.”
Mr. Greubel was the Senior Pacific Islands Desk Officer in the East Asia Pacific Bureau’s Office of Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Islands Affairs. He managed bilateral relations with five Pacific island countries—Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Nauru, and Tuvalu.