Gov. Eloy S. Inos signed into law a bill that removes the sunset provision for designating 30 hectares of public lands each for free trade zones on Rota and Tinian, and at the same time allows the establishment of free trade zones in the Northern Islands.
Senate vice president Victor Hocog’s (R-Rota) Senate Bill 18-15 is now Public Law 18-16.
Hocog, in an interview yesterday, said the new law encourages municipalities to come up with activities on each island that will help spur economic development and create jobs for people.
“And I would also like to thank the governor for recognizing the importance of this legislation by signing it into law,” Hocog told Saipan Tribune.
The new law amends Public Law 12-20 by removing the 180-day requirement for the now Department of Public Lands to designate 30 hectares of public lands each for Rota and Tinian free trade zones. Saipan also has a free trade zone.
The new law also requires the designation of 30 hectares of public lands “on any island in the Northern Islands not otherwise designated for a public purpose.”
Free trade zones have been established as an economic tool to encourage new business, industrial and commercial activities to diversify the CNMI economy.
These activities require significant capital investment, are low labor-intensive, have negligible impact on the environment, and are compatible with tourism.
“Such businesses will attract skilled and highly paid employees, and will provide meaningful training opportunities for the citizens of the CNMI,” the new law states.