Samoa is not on the FATF List of Countries that have been identified as having strategic AML deficiencies
Compliance with FATF Recommendations
The last follow-up Mutual Evaluation Report relating to the implementation of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards in Samoa was undertaken in 2018.According to that Evaluation, Samoa was deemed Compliant for 5 and Largely Compliant for 15 of the FATF 40 Recommendations. It was also deemed Highly Effective for 0 and Substantially Effective for 1 with regard to the 11 areas of Effectiveness of its AML/CFT Regime.
EU Commission’s list of AML/CFT deficient countries
On 13 February 2019, the EU Commission adopted a new list of 23 third countries that had been identified as having strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks as defined under the Fourth and Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directives. Samoa has been included on this list. This list currently includes all countries currently on the FATF AML deficiency lists together with 11 additional jurisdictions.
It is noted that to date the EU Member States have declined to adopt this list. However, as this country has been identified as having AML deficiencies by the EU Commission, we have rated it accordingly.
US Department of State Money Laundering assessment (INCSR)
Samoa was deemed a ‘Monitored’ Jurisdiction by the US Department of State 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR). Key Findings from the report are as follows: -
The Independent State of Samoa is not known to have major organized crime, fraud, or drug problems and due to the small size of the local economy and the banking sector, Samoa has not become a haven for money laundering or terrorism financing. There is no significant evidence of large scale public corruption or black market activity. The most common financial crimes within the jurisdiction appear to be low-level fraud and theft.
According to Samoan law enforcement, criminal organizations based in Hawaii and California are involved in the trafficking of cocaine and crystal methamphetamine into Pacific island nations, including Samoa. Additionally, South American and Australian-based organizations use the South Pacific islands as transshipment locations for cocaine being shipped from South America into Australia and New Zealand.
Samoa is an offshore financial jurisdiction administered by the Samoa International Finance Authority (SIFA). For entities registered or licensed under the various Offshore Finance Centre acts, there are no currency or exchange controls, and no foreign exchange levies payable on foreign currency transactions. No income tax or other duties, nor any other direct or indirect tax or stamp duty is payable by registered/licensed entities.
There are four locally incorporated commercial banks, supervised by the Central Bank. There is one casino in operation, and one additional license the government has yet to allocate. In addition, one local lottery is in operation.
EU Tax Blacklist
Samoa has harmful preferential tax regimes, does not apply the BEPS minimum standards and did not commit to addressing these issues by 31 December 2018.
On March 12, 2019, the EU Commission confirmed that Samoa had taken no commitments since the first blacklist adopted in 2017 and, therefore, it will remain on the list.
There are no international sanctions currently in force against this country.
BRIBERY & CORRUPTION
Rating (100-Good / 0-Bad)
Transparency International Corruption Index N/A
World Governance Indicator – Control of Corruption 75
The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, family remittances from overseas, tourism, agriculture, and fishing. It has a nominal GDP of $780 million. Agriculture, including fishing, employs roughly two-thirds of the labour force and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring fish, coconut oil, nonu products, and taro. The manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. One factory in the Foreign Trade Zone employs 1,000 people to make automobile electrical harnesses for an assembly plant in Australia, and accounts for 65% of total exports. Industry accounts for nearly 15% of GDP while employing less than 6% of the work force. The service sector accounts for nearly three-quarters of GDP and employs approximately 50% of the labour force. Tourism is an expanding sector accounting for 25% of GDP; 132,000 tourists visited the islands in 2013.
The country is vulnerable to devastating storms. In September 2009, an earthquake and the resulting tsunami severely damaged Samoa and nearby American Samoa, disrupting transportation and power generation, and resulting in about 200 deaths. In December 2012, extensive flooding and wind damage from Tropical Cyclone Evan killed four people, displaced over 6,000, and damaged or destroyed an estimated 1,500 homes on Samoa's Upolu Island.
The Samoan Government has called for deregulation of the country's financial sector, encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline, while at the same time protecting the environment. Foreign reserves are relatively healthy and inflation is low, but external debt is approximately 55% of GDP. Samoa became the 155th member of the WTO in May 2012, and graduated from least developed country (LDC) status in January 2014.
Agriculture - products:
coconuts, nonu, bananas, taro, yams, coffee, cocoa
food processing, building materials, auto parts
Exports - commodities:
fish, coconut oil and cream, nonu, copra, taro, automotive parts, garments, beer
Exports - partners:
American Samoa 57.1%, Australia 17.2% (2015)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, industrial supplies, foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
Fiji 22.6%, NZ 18.8%, China 15.8%, South Korea 7.9%, Australia 6%, US 5.6%, Singapore 5.2% (2015)
Investment Climate - US State Department
The Independent State of Samoa is a peaceful parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth of Nations. It has a population of approximately 190,000 and a nominal GDP of US$788 million (ST$1.97 billion). Samoa became the 155th member of the WTO in May 2012 and graduated from least developed country (LDC) status in January 2014.
Samoa is recognized throughout Oceania as one of the most politically and economically stable democratic countries in the region - based on strong social and cultural structures and values. The country has been governed by the Human Rights Protectorate Party (HRPP) since 1982, and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has been in power since 1998.
Samoa is located south of the equator, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean. The total land area is 1,097 square miles, consisting of the two large islands of Upolu and Savai'i, which account for 99% of the total land area and eight small islets. About 80% of all land is customary land, owned by villages, with the remainder either freehold or government owned. Customary land can be leased.
Several changes and natural disasters have taken place in Samoa in the past five years that have shaped the country significantly. Samoa previously drove on the right (U.S.) side of the road, but in September 2009 switched to driving on the left (British) side. All cars now imported are right-hand drive. Also, Samoa was previously located east of the international dateline, but in December 2012 moved to the other side (UTC +13), switching from the last sunset of the world each day to becoming one of the first countries to start each day.
The September 2009 tsunami and the December 2012 cyclone (Evan) each inflicted damage equivalent to a quarter of Samoa’s GDP. Samoa has recovered from effects of the tsunami, and largely recovered from the cyclone, but both were significant setbacks to the economy.
The service sector accounts for nearly three-quarters of GDP and employs approximately 50% of the formally employed labor force (which is about 20% of the population). Tourism is the largest single activity, with visitor numbers and revenue more than doubling over the last decade. Industry accounts for nearly 15% of GDP, while employing less than 6% of the work force.
Other Useful Links