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Exporters position for downturn relief

The Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exports (S.A.M.E.) say they are preparing to seek assistance for member businesses bracing for the impact of the coronavirus-led economic downturn.

S.A.M.E. president, Tagaloa Eddie Wilson, said the group has already commenced a survey of Association businesses to establish how they can be best assisted. 

Businesses are being affected, that part is obvious enough, Tagaloa said. But exactly how they are affected and what assistance would help needs clarification, the President said. 

So far, export businesses report being hit with months’ worth of delays and costs, he said. 

"We are conducting a survey on our members on the impact of coronavirus on their businesses, and on that survey we are finding out what exactly the impact is, and what sort of assistance, if they need any," he said.

"When we get the results of that survey, then we start to work with Government and donor agents for assistance. 

“I'm sure the Government will assist but before we go to them, we want a holistic picture and feedback from our members about the impact of coronavirus.

"We're also pursuing technical assistance from donor countries like Australia, Canada for various assistance for our members. So we are being proactive; we're not waiting around."

But, one thing that stands out the most during these times is the opportunity to utilise internet marketplaces. 

They are also, talking to banks and financial institutions, about easing members’ repayment obligations in the event of recession. 

For Tagaloa, his shipments, which were intended to leave a few weeks ago, have been delayed due to hold ups caused by the coronavirus. The company is facing a delay in order confirmations. 

"It's cost us a couple of months of delay, so the shipment should have gone out in February but I think it [will] go out either [by the] end of March or April now," he said.

"Obviously we had a huge demand for our nonu and chocolate products but since the last couple of months, our main customers overseas are more or less focusing on the impact of coronavirus, so we're expecting a delay."

Though the upside for the Wilex Company Ltd. at Lelata is that production is ongoing and supply is plenty.

"We're still good, we're ready to produce and export, any time,” he said.

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