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IN BRIEF - Bellevue company to open tuna cannery in American Samoa

Tuesday, January 06, 2015
PAGO PAGO  (AP) - A Washington state company is making a $70 million investment in a tuna cannery in the U.S. territory of American Samoa.
The canned tuna products from American Samoa will carry the "Made In USA" label, said officials with Tri Marine International. Based in Bellevue, Washington, Tri Marine took over the lease of a government property three years ago after another cannery closed.
Tri Marine's cannery plant is expected to employ some 1,500 workers when fully operational and is operated by the company's Samoa Tuna Process Inc., located on seaside village of Atu'u. American Samoa's economy is dependent on the tuna cannery industry.
Outgoing chamber of commerce chairman Lewis Wolman said that besides the large workforce, the new cannery will have direct impacts like buying products from local vendors and supporting the shipping industry. But it will also have significant indirect impacts, such as the purchases made by workers from their paychecks.
An inauguration ceremony is planned for Jan. 24.
The new cannery will focus on the U.S. market, where tuna products from American Samoa are duty-free, said Curto, adding that this helps offset the higher cost of processing in the territory as compared with industrialized centers in low-labor-cost countries like Thailand, Philippines and China.
The company plans to produce private label and its own brand of tuna markets. The brand is made by Tri Marine subsidiary, The Tuna Store, and it is already on shelves under the name Ocean Naturals.
But Curto said SolTuna, which is a partnership between Tri Marine and the Solomon Islands government, produces products for other markets, which includes the South Pacific region and Europe where products from Solomon Islands have duty-free access.

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