Can Guam negotiate free trade agreements on its own?

Exclusion from US trade pacts beams light on another legal gray area of the territory's confusing status

Guam is excluded from the United States’ free trade agreements with Japan and South Korea because the island’s port falls outside of the U.S. Customs’ jurisdiction, Congressman Michael San Nicolas said Monday.

“As a result, Guam-originating exports into either of these markets or any other markets in which we are not included in the U.S. free trade agreements do not enjoy the lower negotiated tariffs between these two countries and the United States, resulting in our exports being tariffed at higher world markets rates,” San Nicolas said in his congressional address before the 36th Guam Legislature.

San Nicolas said he has discovered that Guam has been left out of the trade pacts while making inquiries about the facilitation of product exports from local manufacturers.

Michael San Nicolas

“We found this to be unacceptable,” San Nicolas said. “Our findings have so far been a paradoxical blend of disappointment, hope and intrigue.”