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GAO: continued economic reliance on a single tuna cannery presents a fiscal risk

The Government Accountability Office says American Samoa’s continued economic reliance on a single tuna cannery presents a fiscal risk.


In June 2020, the GAO reported the StarKist Samoa cannery has been facing challenges. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, fish exports from American Samoa declined 29 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020.


Both territorial and Starkist officials cited the importance of a federal tax credit to the tuna industry and the degree to which the credit’s temporary nature contributes to economic uncertainty.


Reductions in the tuna canning industry would likely also affect support industries such as transportation and warehousing, retail and wholesale, and construction in American Samoa. Further, the government’s efforts to diversify its economy face challenges.


The GAO reported in June 2020 that the government was investing in developing a call center industry.


However, this effort has made little progress as of June this year, and the call center is not operational.


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