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Title: U.S. territorial policy : trends and current challenges 
Author: Stayman, Allen P.
Date: 2009
Publisher: Honolulu: East-West Center
Abstract: As a large continental power the United States has embraced a pragmatic and flexible approach to building stable relations with remote Island jurisdictions--each with its own unique history, culture, and economic potential. In light of their distinctive needs, the United States has extended special trade, tax, wage, financial assistance, and other privileges to support the growth of the Islands' less-competitive market economies.
In this landmark paper, Allen P. Stayman breaks new ground with his analysis of how, from legal and policy perspectives, the U.S. territorial system evolved. He identifies three distinct phases: incorporated territories, unincorporated territories, and the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
The author also analyzes how, since the 1980s, trade globalization and changing U.S. tax, trade, and economic policies have undermined many of the traditional, targeted economic supports for the Islands. As a consequence, he argues, some Islands, particularly American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, are facing dramatic economic declines. Concurrently, with the exception of Guam, the global recession is leading to a general weakening of Islands' market economies, with the United States and Island governments urgently seeking to address major new challenges to economic stability. Will policymakers be successful at revitalizing those Island communities that have historic ties to the United States, or will the economies continue to weaken and Islanders seek better opportunities by increasingly migrating to Hawaii and the continental United States?
Series/Report No.: Pacific Islands policy ; 5
Description: For more about the East-West Center, see
Pages/Duration: 30 p.
LC Subject Headings: United States - Territories and possessions
Pacific Islands (Trust Territory) - History
Pacific Islands (Trust Territory) - Economic conditions

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This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Pacific Islands Policy [9]
    Pacific Islands Policy examines critical issues, problems, and opportunities that are relevant to the Pacific Islands region. The series is intended to influence the policy process, affect how people understand a range of contemporary Pacific issues, and help fashion solutions. A central aim of the series is to encourage scholarly analysis of economic, political, social, and cultural issues in a manner that will advance common understanding of current challenges and policy responses.


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