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Western Samoa

Capital: Apia
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Population: 179,000 (est. 2003)
Languages: Samoan (Polynesian), English
Area: 2,934 sq. km (land area)
Currency: Tala (SAT/WST)
Fiscal year: 1 June - 31 May
Independence status: 01/01/1962 (from New Zealand admin. UN trustee)

BACKGROUND
WESTERN SAMOA is a cluster of Pacific Polynesian Islands about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand.The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, family remittances from overseas, and agriculture and fishing.The manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products.Tourism is an expanding sector

Legal System
Western Samoa is an independent nation with a parliamentary government. The Constitution provides for a Head of State, Prime Minister and Cabinet of Ministers who comprise the Executive Council and the Legislative Assembly. There are two major political parties, and both strongly support the new Offshore Banking, Insurance and International Companies legislations allowing for tax-free operations by foreigners.Western Samoan tax law has its foundation in English and Commonwealth statutory common law. The five acts which are the basis for the Offshore Finance, Banking and Insurance centre are based upon English law, with an intermingling of the laws of the various financial centres.

Currency
The local currency unit is the Samoan Tala. Entities registered under offshore finance centre legislation are not subject to any currency or foreign exchange controls. There are no currency or exchange controls or regulations on any foreign currency transation effected by an International Company ("IC").

Confidentiality
Western Samoa has signed no tax treaties with any nation. It is against the law for anyone having information pertaining to the business profits of any bank, company, insurer or trust to divulge that information to outside tax collectors or other investigators. Each of the various Acts has built-in provisions within their texts vigorously forbidding the divulgence of confidential information. Files kept by the Registrar and documents lodged with them are confidential and are not available for inspection by the public.

Taxation
International Companies, Offshore Banks, Insurance Companies, and International Trusts are exempt from income tax or other duties, including direct or indirect tax or stamp duty on any transaction or profits of or on dividends and interest paid by or to any company registered or licensed under the various Off-shore Acts.

Legislations
The International Companies Act 1987, as amended in 1998, governs the incorporation or registration of companies. Under the Act, companies may be incorporated as international companies or registered as foreign companies with permanent establishment in Samoa. Companies incorporated elsewhere can be redomiciled into Samoa. Related Banking Insurance, and Trust Legislations were introduced in 19987 and 1988 and made a number amendments to make it more "user-friendly" to increase its attractiveness against other jurisdictions.


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