Our relationship with American Samoa

New Zealand’s relationship with American Samoa is based on solid trade and economic links, as well as shared interests in Pacific issues. We are both involved in the Pacific Islands Forum, New Zealand as a member state and American Samoa as an observer.

American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States, with strong political and economic links to the US. It covers 199 square kilometres of land, made up of five main islands and two coral atolls lying to the south east of the Samoan Islands chain, about half way between New Zealand and Hawaii. Most of the 66,000 American Samoans live on the largest island, Tutuila.

Trade

Statistics

Total trade in goods (2014)

$29 million

 

Exports to American Samoa (2014)

$27 million

Top exports: materials for tuna canneries, food, petroleum products, machinery and parts.

Imports from American Samoa (2014)

$2 million

Top imports: canned tuna, fresh fruit and vegetables

Real GDP (2013)

US$504 million

 

GDP per capita (2013)

US$9,164

(NZ GDP per capita is US$43,83)

GDP growth (2013)

 -2%

 

New Zealand accounts for 25% of American Samoa’s goods imports, but trade in services is also an important feature of the trading relationship. New Zealand construction companies operate there, New Zealand doctors are employed and Manukau Institute of Technology trains employees from American Samoa’s Power Authority.

New Zealand tuna fishing vessels operate in the area and supply American Samoan canneries. Canned tuna is the backbone of their private sector economy, accounting for 95% of their exports. 

Aid

New Zealand doesn’t have an aid relationship with American Samoa because it is a US territory, but we are working with the US to support non-communicable disease prevention and control in the Pacific region. This work involves New Zealand developing a text message support service for people in American Samoa who want to quit smoking.

We also sent humanitarian aid in response to the September 2009 earthquake and tsunami which caused 34 deaths and widespread damage to infrastructure, homes and businesses in American Samoa.

Embassies

  • New Zealand is represented in American Samoa by the New Zealand High Commission, Apia 
  • New Zealand and American Samoa also have official contacts through the New Zealand Embassy in Washington DC and American Samoa’s delegate to the US House of Representatives

Recent official visits

New Zealand to American Samoa
  • 2009: Mayor of Manukau City, Len Brown, led a Manukau City Trade Mission to American Samoa
  • 2008: Maori King Tuheitia, Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard and Toi Maori Chair Dr Ngahuia Te Awekotuku led a large cultural delegation to the 10th Festival of Pacific Arts in the American Samoa capital, Pago Pago
American Samoa to New Zealand
  • April 2013: Taotasi Archie Soliai, Member of the House of Representatives took part in the Pacific Parliamentary and Political Leaders Forum in Auckland
  • March 2013: Governor Lolo attended the Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland
  • 2009: Governor Togiola Tulafono attended the Pacific Tsunami Memorial Service in Auckland
  • 2008: Congressman Hon Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin led a Congressional delegation to New Zealand

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