Today, though, “we do a lot more business with New Zealand and Australia, China, and Pacific Rim countries,” said Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi earlier this year, announcing the change.
So Samoans, who currently live 20 miles east of the dateline, will go to sleep on Thursday night, skip Friday, and wake up on Saturday morning on the Asian side of the imaginary line. The 24 hour leap into the future will make trade with East Asia “far, far easier,” Mr. Tuilaepa said.
“They will lose the date of December 30th 2011 forever, but they will gain a lot of great business opportunities,” argued an article in Thursday’s edition of the ruling Chinese Communist party’s official organ, the People’s Daily.
“The strategic guideline behind this change means that China’s influence in the southern Asia Pacific area is rising,” suggested an accompanying commentary.
China’s trade with Samoa leaped from 13 million dollars in 2006 to 70 million dollars in 2010.