The New Year, 2012, will come a bit early for Samoa. On the 29th of December, Samoans will be busy turning their clocks forward by 24 hours, as their country shifts time zones and move from the west of the International Date Line from the east.
This move is being made to increase trade and business with Australia and New Zealand. Currently Samoa is to the east of the Date Line, 21 hours behind Sydney. After the switch, they will be 3 hours in front. Samoa say that they lose out on two days every week because of the time difference. On Friday, before trading starts, Australian markets shut down for the weekend. On Sunday, when Australians busily engage in business, Samoans stay confined in churches attending Sunday Mass. Interestingly, Samoa had shifted itself to the east of the Date Line 119 years ago in order to effectively trade with England. That did not materialize all that well, and in recent times, especially since independence in 1986, Samoa has been trading extensively with Australia and New Zealand. The Samoan economy is primarily dependent on agriculture. Agricultural exports constitute about 90% to the GDP. Among chief exports are copra, coffee and cocoa. Cocoa beans are especially important since they are exported to New Zealand. New Zealand has a good chocolate industry specializing in fine exotic chocolates and Samoan cocoa beans are of prime importance. It is hoped that this shift will boost Samoa’s fledging economy.