(Palikir, FSM Department of Resources and Development)
After one year of national and state consultations, the Division of Trade and Investment has recently completed the publication of the 2015 FSM Investment Guide, a promotion and marketing document that aims at providing useful information on investing in the FSM and guiding any potential local or foreign investor in setting up a business in the FSM. The Investment Guide was designed and printed in Guam and delivered to the FSM Consulate General in Guam on May 27, 2015. In the welcome message, Secretary Marion Henry of the FSM Department of R&D highlighted the distinctive features of the 2015 edition of the FSM Investment Guide, which comes nearly 10 years after the last investment guide was published. In effect, unlike the 2006 edition, the 2015 FSM Investment Guide goes beyond the traditional sections on basic information about the FSM and the business enabling environment by providing updated detailed information on the main investment opportunities in the FSM, including tuna processing; fishing vessels and fishing nets repair and maintenance; tourism development around historic and archaeologic sites; protected areas and water-based sport activities; production of poultry products and drinking water; production of exotic agriculture products and small scale agro-processing; international transportation; and production of renewable energy, to name just a few. In addition, the guide offers a snapshot of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives available to investors, all the relevant information on starting a business in the FSM, with detailed information on the steps and competent agencies, and a list of useful addresses to make the entire process business friendly than ever.
With the publication of the 2015 FSM Investment Guide, the FSM Department of R&D has now fully implemented one of the key recommendations arising from the Symposium on Investment Facilitation in the FSM held in May 2013 in Palikir, which recommended, among other things, that information on investment opportunities, procedures and steps to investing in the FSM, and relevant agencies involved in the process should be collated and published in an investment guide and be made available on a website. The date, time, and venue of the launching of the long-awaited document are being finalized by the FSM Department of R&D.
“This is the very first professional investment guide that the FSM has produced and it is a reflection of the new pro-active approach that we want to take with respect to promoting investments into the FSM as part of the government overall strategy as the Nation gears up towards 2023; there is more coming up”, says Secretary Henry. Following the launching of the 2015 FSM Investment Guide, the FSM Department of R&D will turn to other key projects and reforms needed to further improving the business enabling environment in the FSM, including the “big elephant in the house.” On top of the list is the drafting of proposed amendments to foreign investment laws and regulations as well as policies to further enhance transparency, harmonize, and streamline the processes (the first round of consultations for this project was conducted last march and April 2015 with the technical assistance of the World Bank-IFC), followed by the establishment of an investment promotion agency at the national level. In parallel to those two major projects, the FSM Department of R&D will continue to build and strengthen the capacity of producers, produce and disseminate a guide to assist producers to export to regional and international markets, and finalize the translation of key sections of the 2015 Investment Guide into the Japanese and Chinese languages.
The publication of the 2015 FSM Investment Guide is a joint effort of the National and State Governments with the support of several stakeholders and development partners. In this regard, Secretary Marion Henry observed that “the collaborative efforts of national and state agencies as well as the private sector was critical and facilitated the realization of this important document, considering that it cuts across all sectors of the FSM society. The FSM Department of R&D could not have accomplished it alone”. Secretary Henry also highlighted the critical role of the technical assistance received from the Commonwealth Secretariat-EU funded Hub & Spokes Programme II through the advisory services of the National Trade Adviser; as well as the valuable inputs provided by other technical agencies and development partners, including the Pacific Trade & Investment network and the US Embassy to the FSM.