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Micronesia: Overview

Micronesia is located in the northwestern part of the Pacific Ocean, near the Philippines. It consists of some 600 islands grouped into four states: Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk (Truk) and Yap.

The Federated States of Micronesia remains a close association with the US under the Compact Free Association, which was renewed for 20 years (2004-2023). Under this, Washington took on responsible for defense and gained the right to set up military bases and deny other nation’s access to Micronesia. Micronesia in return received financial assistance from the US. In spite of the large amount of financial aid that Micronesia receives, high unemployment persists to be a problem of the country, which was worsen by the increasing number of Filipino migrant workers.

Foreigners are allowed only to lease land in the country. But securing rights to lease is difficult because land tenure or land laws differ among the four states, not to mention that land is customary or group owned, usually by families or clans. So an investor who wishes to lease land has to get the approval of the “owners” of a land, that is, the consensus of families, clans and traditional leaders.

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