Chapter

SAMOA

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Published Date:
September 2004
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(Position as of December 31, 2003)
Status Under IMF Articles of Agreement
Article VIIIDate of acceptance: October 6, 1994.
Exchange Arrangement
CurrencyThe currency of Samoa is the Samoa tala.
Exchange rate structureUnitary.
Classification
Conventional pegged arrangementThe exchange rate is determined on the basis of a fixed relationship with a weighted basket of currencies of Samoa’s main trading partners—the Australian dollar, the euro, the Fiji dollar, the New Zealand dollar, and the U.S. dollar. The weights are based on the distribution of trade, private remittances, and travel transactions of Samoa. The Central Bank of Samoa (CBS) has the authority to make discretionary exchange rate adjustments against the currency basket within a margin of up to ±2%.
Exchange taxNo.
Exchange subsidyNo.
Forward exchange marketCommercial banks are permitted to make forward exchange contracts.
Arrangements for Payments and Receipts
Prescription of currency requirements
Use of foreign exchange among residentsThe domestic use of foreign currencies is subject to CBS approval.
Payments arrangements
Regional arrangementsSamoa participates in PACER and PICTA.
Administration of controlOverall responsibility for the administration of exchange control rests with the CBS, which delegates part of its powers to authorized banks. In principle, all payments to nonresidents require the CBS’s approval. However, the authorized banks—the ANZ Bank (Samoa) Ltd., the National Bank of Samoa, and the Pacific Commercial Bank—are empowered to approve certain payments without limits and others up to specified amounts.
International security restrictionsNo.
Payments arrearsNo.
Controls on trade in gold (coins and/or bullion)No.
Controls on exports and imports of banknotes
On exports
Domestic currencyResidents are allowed to export SAT 2,000 as part of their travel allowance.
Foreign currencySamoan residents are allowed to export the equivalent of SAT 7,000 in foreign currency. Nonresidents may export the amount of foreign currency they brought into the country.
On imports
Foreign currencyAmounts in excess of the equivalent of SAT 10,000 must be declared at the port of entry.
Resident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedResidents who earn foreign exchange in the normal course of their business may open, with the approval of the CBS, external or foreign currency deposit accounts with one of the three authorized banks.
Held domesticallyYes.
Held abroadYes.
Accounts in domestic currency held abroadNo.
Accounts in domestic currency convertible into foreign currencyCBS approval is required to convert these accounts.
Nonresident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedNonresidents who earn foreign exchange may open a foreign currency deposit account if there is a need to settle overseas commitments, subject to approval.
Approval requiredYes.
Domestic currency accountsThese accounts are permitted, but prior approval is required.
Convertible into foreign currencyYes.
Blocked accountsNo.
Imports and Import Payments
Foreign exchange budgetNo.
Financing requirements for importsNo.
Documentation requirements for release of foreign exchange for imports
Letters of creditYes.
Import licenses and other nontariff measures
Positive listYes.
Negative listThe importation of a few products is prohibited for reasons of security or health.
Import taxes and/or tariffsImport duties are levied on an ad valorem basis on c.i.f. values. There are four generl rates of duty—zero, 5%, 8%, and 20%. Duties on machinery and agricultural imports are generally 8% or lower, while the duty on motor vehicles is 20%. In addition, an import excise tax is applied to imports of alcohol, soft drinks, tobacco, petroleum, and passenger cars. Enterprises producing for export may receive full or partial exemption from duties and excise taxes on inputs and capital equipment.
Taxes collected through the exchange systemThere is a value-added goods and service tax.
State import monopolyNo.
Exports and Export Proceeds
Repatriation requirementsYes.
Surrender requirementsExport proceeds must be surrendered to the authorized banks within three months of the date of shipment, except for export proceeds from goods shipped to American Samoa, which must be surrendered to the authorized bank within four weeks of the date of shipment.
Financing requirementsNo.
Documentation requirements
Letters of creditYes.
Preshipment inspectionYes.
Export licenses
Without quotasAll exports require export licenses issued by the Customs Department. Exports may be prohibited by the Director of Agriculture on grounds of low quality, or by order of the head of state to alleviate domestic shortages.
Export taxesNo.
Payments for Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Controls on these transfersPayments for certain invisibles may be approved by the authorized banks up to specified limits. Payments in excess of these limits, as well as payments for all other invisibles, require the prior approval of the CBS, which is granted when applications are supported by documentary proof that capital transactions are not involved. The CBS’s approval process governing the remittance of invisible payments is concerned only with whether a transaction is bona fide.
Trade-related payments
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsYes.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Investment-related paymentsA 15% withholding tax is levied on remittances of interest payments on overseas loans and of dividends at the source. Information is not available on payments of amortization of loans or depreciation of direct investments.
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsYes.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Payments for travel
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsResidents and expatriates traveling overseas are entitled to purchase from commercial banks a foreign currency allowance equivalent to SAT 700 a person a day, subject to a limit of SAT 7,000 a person a trip; children under 15 years of age are entitled to 50% of the adult allowances. Larger amounts may be purchased with CBS approval.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Personal payments
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsYes.
Indicative limits/bona fide testAlthough no limit is set on remittances to cover expenses for medical treatment abroad, documentary evidence must be provided to support requests for such remittances. There is no specific limit for costs to study abroad, but the amount requested must be supported by documentary evidence confirming that the beneficiary is enrolled at an educational institution abroad and costs are in line with the prevailing costs in the country of study.
Foreign workers’ wages
Prior approvalExpatriate workers with local contracts of one year and longer are considered residents and need CBS approval if they wish to repatriate funds in excess of 80% of their net earnings on a fortnightly or monthly basis. Earnings not repatriated during the contract may be repatriated at the end of the contract.
Quantitative limitsYes.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Credit card use abroad
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsYes.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Other payments
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsYes.
Indicative limits/bona fide testThere are specific limits on subscriptions and membership fees, and amounts requested must be supported by documentary evidence.
Proceeds from Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Repatriation requirementsYes.
Surrender requirementsAll proceeds must be surrendered to the authorized banks. On their return, resident travelers must sell to banks all unused foreign exchange they bring in.
Restrictions on use of fundsNo.
Capital Transactions
Controls on capital transactionsMost capital transactions (inward and outward) require approval of the CBS. Local money markets have begun to develop, following the introduction of open market operations by the CBS. A capital market in foreign currencies has not yet been developed in Samoa.
Controls on capital and money market instruments
On capital market securities
Shares or other securities of a participating nature
Purchase abroad by residentsYes.
Bonds or other debt securitiesAll of these transactions are regulated.
On money market instruments
Purchase abroad by residentsYes.
Sale or issue abroad by residentsYes.
On collective investment securities
Purchase abroad by residentsYes.
Controls on derivatives and other instrumentsNo.
Controls on credit operationsAll credit operations require CBS approval.
Controls on direct investment
Outward direct investmentInvestments require CBS approval.
Controls on liquidation of direct investmentRepatriation of investments requires CBS approval.
Controls on real estate transactions
Purchase abroad by residentsPurchases require CBS approval.
Purchase locally by nonresidentsYes.
Sale locally by nonresidentsYes.
Controls on personal capital transactions
Loans
By residents to nonresidentsYes.
To residents from nonresidentsYes.
Gifts, endowments, inheritances, and legacies
By residents to nonresidentsYes.
To residents from nonresidentsYes.
Settlement of debts abroad by immigrantsYes.
Transfer of gambling and prize earningsThere are no restrictions for nonresidents, but residents require approval from the CBS.
Provisions specific to commercial banks and other credit institutions
Borrowing abroadBorrowing requires CBS approval.
Maintenance of accounts abroadYes.
Lending to nonresidents (financial or commercial credits)Yes.
Lending locally in foreign exchangeYes.
Purchase of locally issued securities denominated in foreign exchangeYes.
Provisions specific to institutional investorsNo.
Other controls imposed by securities lawsAll outward capital transfers by residents require the specific approval of the CBS.
Changes During 2003
No significant changes occurred in the exchange and trade system.

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