Department of the Interior

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Office of the Secretary
CONTACT: Keith Parsky 202-903-4709
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 24, 2004
Joan Moody 202-208-6416
Secretary Showcases Outstanding Business Opportunities in the US Affiliated Islands

(LOS ANGELES, CA)- Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton told a conference she hosted in Los Angeles today that the seven island jurisdictions for which the Department of the Interior has responsibility offer outstanding business opportunities. More than 900 people participated in the conference, including island heads of state, governors, business executives and private sector island officials spearheading numerous investment and trade initiatives.

"We have gathered for one reason: To learn more about the win-win business opportunities found on our U.S. affiliated islands: America's territories and freely associated states," the Secretary said.

The Secretary's Conference on Business Opportunities in the Islands, held September 23 and 24 at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, highlighted opportunities in Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia.

"There is as much business potential as there is beauty on those islands and that is considerable," said Norton. "While a long way from the continental shore, the islands are close to America in many ways. They share the currency and the political stability. They have U.S. protection but are free to select their own courses of development."

Norton said the islands offer American companies excellent contracting opportunities. The Federal Government recently agreed to send $3.5 billion in grants to the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia alone over the next 20 years.

In addition to Norton, other dignitaries at the conference included Kessai Note, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands; Redley Killion, Vice President, Federated States of Micronesia; Charles Turnbull, Governor, U.S. Virgin Islands; Kaleo Moylan, Lieutenant Governor, Guam; Togiola Tulafono, Governor, American Samoa and Juan Babauta, Governor, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

This year's conference follows the successful 2003 conference at which more than 500 businesspeople and others joined Secretary Norton and top officials from the U.S. territories to hear expert panels discuss opportunities in a variety of industries.




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