The Saipan Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the office of the governor and Washington representative for their invitation to accompany Lt. Gov. Diego T. Benavente and Washington Representative Pete A. Tenorio on the very important trip to Washington D.C to support a change of Head note 3(a).

The meetings with various members of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee Insular Delegates Office of Insular Affairs and the White House Administration provided an opportunity to state our best case regarding the impending economic disaster that is looming over the CNMI without the revenue derived from the apparel industry.

We discussed the impact currently being witnessed by decreasing orders and revenue felt by the government and the business community. We explained the need to fast track the amendment legislation on Headnote 3(a) as we have been informed by significant buyers that they will source their products from countries that provided a more competitive price structure and we possibly had till the first quarter of 2006 to achieve some pricing relief or they would have to source elsewhere. As determined by a group of business leaders and the office of the governor and Washington representative the Headnote 3(a) provision change would provide the needed relief and maintain a competitive price structure to compete with countries like Jordan Egypt India and Pakistan to name a few.

We also stressed support for our U.S. Delegate bill which Representative Pete A. Tenorio is hard at work in D.C. to have voted upon hopefully before year’s end. I am cognizant now more then ever that lobbying is key to our success with any significant measure we seek from Congress but that a delegate seat would allow further access we currently do not enjoy.

We hope to see this legislation introduced after the August recess and voted upon before the year’s end as well.

Alex A. Sablan
Saipan Chamber of Commerce

Editor’s Note: The Journal broke the story of the Saipan delegation’s trip to Washington in an MBJ online Newsflash on July 12. A detailed exclusive on the delegation’s retention of lobbying firm Sandler Travis & Rosenberg associated costs and meetings with federal officials followed in the Journal of July 25 (See "Saipan delegation sews connections with 17 members of Congress.").