Four companies from Guam and Saipan joined the recently concluded trade mission to Palau to explore business opportunities in the growing Pacific nation which like Guam is becoming a magnet for foreign investments.
The two-day trade mission ”” sponsored by Guam Business Magazine (a sister publication to the Journal) and hosted by the Office of the President and the Palau Chamber of Commerce ”” has enabled Guam/Saipan delegates to establish connections with Palau’s business community and acquaint themselves with the ins-and-outs of doing business in the neighboring Pacific island country.
At the same time a number of Palau businessmen have expressed interest in expanding their operations to Guam and Saipan in a bid to participate in the gold rush triggered by the military buildup.
Trade visits and networking are a smart way to strengthen regional economic ties that would better brace this continent for a wider involvement with the phenomenal globalization of the market.
The Pacific Islands region ”” once a forlorn landscape in the global economic map ”” has been discovered as a lucrative area for investments. This region may be a Johnny-come-lately in the game but it is slowly but surely marching toward prosperity that hopefully will free it from extreme dependence on western economies. Its close proximity to Asia ”” with countries that are emerging as the world’s new economic tigers ”” can pull this region out of the periphery and into the core of global economy.
The Marianas and Micronesia can learn from the success of other regional economic blocs that embrace open-regionalism and better regional cooperation. Achieving this goal should be a lot easier for this region with jurisdictions that share similar values and culture.
Each island nation and territory can complement one another’s strengths and weaknesses. Guam and Saipan for example can leverage from Palau’s experience with renewable energy development. Palau will eventually join in Guam and Saipan’s relatively sophisticated telecommunications system and infrastructure.
But even more important every nation and territory must recognize the need to exert common efforts to develop the skills and the capacity of our own human resources by raising their incomes and fulfilling their potential. This way the yawning inequalities can be narrowed.
A unified Pacific will allow us to confront a massive wave of urbanization.