Press Release

Free Market Advocates Praise Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

For Immediate Release: July 12, 1996
Contact: Amy Moritz 202/543-4110, [email protected]

WASHINGTON, DC -- A group of free market advocates from the U.S. mainland recently visited the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) on a fact-finding tour sponsored by The National Center for Public Policy Research. The group unanimously complemented the efforts of the CNMI to create a successful free-market based economy. The travelers included Doug Bandow, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute; Marlo Lewis, Jr., Executive Director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute; Daniel J. Mitchell, McKenna Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Heritage Foundation, also co-host of the morning daily TV show "Mitchell's in the Morning" on NET, the Political NewsTalk Network; and Kenneth D. Smith, an editorial writer for the Washington Times.

"A very informational and successful visit -- proof that free-markets work," was the comment of Doug Bandow, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, upon returning to Washington, D.C. "Based on the comments I have received from some of the participants, the Commonwealth is proving to be the most economically successful insular area within the American political family," said Amy Moritz, president of The National Center for Public Policy Research. The CNMI has minimal levels of taxes, with no property, sales or inheritance taxes at all. The CNMI was once an undeveloped U.S. Government dependent trust territory, but throughout the last fifteen years, has achieved record levels of economic growth and a successful era of prosperity for its citizens.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is 184 square miles, located approximately 3,700 miles from Hawaii, and slightly east of Tokyo. After World War II, the United Nations assigned the United States as trustee, and in 1975 the citizens of the Northern Mariana Islands voted to become an American Commonwealth. Although most federal laws apply to the CNMI, there are several exceptions, including U.S. immigration laws and federal minimum wage requirements. The CNMI has a present population of slightly more than 55,000.

"The meetings we had with business leaders, CNMI officials, and other local notables were informative and interesting," commented Marlo Lewis, executive director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, at the conclusion of the four day visit to CNMI.

In addition to meeting with Governor Froilan C. Tenorio, members of his cabinet and members of the commonwealth legislature on Saipan, the travelers also visited Tinian Island on a historical field trip to the Atomic Bomb Pits, Enola Gay Runway and the Invasion Beach -- all locations steeped in American history.

"Governor Tenorio and his administration are demonstrating the power of free enterprise, in a commonwealth that only became part of the United States in 1975," added Bandow, a former member of President Reagan's White House staff.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a conservative research and action foundation which serves as a resource center for the American public and for journalists and policy makers.

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