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  • By Pacific island Times News Staff

Legislature OKs 3 bills backing Guam's economic diversification goal

Guam senators on Tuesday passed three bills that seek to pave the way for the creation of new industries on the territory, which has long been dependent on tourism and military.

Bill 217-35 would entice the potential of a commercial drone industry, Bill 218-35 would support the potential of a processing trade and distribution, transformation, or fulfillment center industries on Guam, while Bill 133-35 would reduce the cost of starting up a small business. All three bills were authored by Sen. James Moylan.

Bills 217-35 and 218-35, if signed into law, would add to the matrix of industries eligible for the Guam Economic Development Authority’s qualifying certificate Program.

Both bills have the potential to attract investors, whether it be through the island’s commerce community seeking to diversify or outside interests who would consider the many benefits which Guam provides from a geographical perspective. The measures also leave the establishment of any benefits for potential applicants under the responsibility of GEDA.

“We are excited about the opportunities that these measures could provide our island in terms of economic activity. Since the bills were introduced in 2019, a few entities have expressed interest in the potential of Guam for a commercial drone industry, as well for a fulfillment or transformation center, particularly from a geographical perspective," Moylan said.

“The objective of these measures is to entice potential investments through GEDA’s QC program and allow the process to take its course. With our economic conditions, it is vital that our government prioritize measures which would create new jobs and support our tax base, and Bills 217 and 218 have the possibility of serving these objectives," Moylan.

Bill 133-35 would reduce the filing fees for Limited Liability Corporations (LLC’s), from $1,000 to $250. The intent is to encourage the growth of small business entrepreneurship on Guam.

National averages for LLC filing fees range between $40 to $500, with an average fee of $127. The LLC is a preferred business structure for many small businesses, as it provides shareholders the protection from liability beyond their contribution.

By reducing the filing fees, the opportunity to encourage sole proprietors or potential small business owners to file for an LLC increases, which in turn has the potential of creating new jobs and contributing to Guam’s tax base and economic activity.

“As we enter the new normal of commerce, a greater focus needs to be made regarding encouraging small business entrepreneurship and financial independence. Bill 133-35 is a business-friendly measure, and we humbly request Gov. Leon Guerrero’s consideration of signing the measure into law, as we can experience a spurt in the growth of small entities on the island,” Moylan said.

“As a government, we need to simplify the process to start a business, and for this I would like to thank my colleagues for their support of Bill 133-35, as costs are typically a barrier to entry for many small businesses.” he added.


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