To stimulate industry, the government has established a "small industries center" at Vaitele, on the airport highway five km west of Apia, where investing companies can obtain long-term leases at low rentals. Cheap labor and 15-year tax holidays are the main incentives to investing here.
Most Samoan products have duty- and quota-free access to Australia and New Zealand under SPARTECA, to Europe under the Cotonou Agreement, and to the United States, Canada, and Japan under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) scheme as a "least developed country." Unfortunately, these competitive advantages are eroding as "globalization" expands worldwide.
The copra-crushing mill at Vaitele has experienced a turnaround since being privatized in 1993, and it now processes all local copra into coconut oil. To fully utilize the installed capacity, additional copra is imported from the Cook Islands and Tonga.
The nearby Samoa Breweries has been highly successful with its excellent Vailima beer, and the Rothmans factory at Vaitele produces 50,000 cartons of cigarettes a month from raw materials imported from New Zealand. A Chinese-run garment factory began operating here in 1999.
In 1991, the Japanese corporation Yazaki transferred its automobile electrical wiring systems assembly plant from Melbourne to Vaitele, and Yazaki now exports S$75 million in automotive products to Australia each year. Since Yazaki pays low wages to its 2,000 mostly female Samoan employees, gets the factory rent-free from the government, and pays no company taxes, it's real value to the Samoan economy is far less than one would expect. All of the materials used at Yazaki's Vaitele plant are imported.
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