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Tuesday, March 21, 2000


Hawaii businesses
seek connections

The international event offers
an extensive look at the workings
of some big corporations

Increased China trade possible
Hawaii courting business delegates

Star-Bulletin staff


Valerie Koenig, who writes business plans for Hawaii companies looking for investors, is always interested in new ideas.

That's what brought the owner of consulting firm Business Plans Hawaii to yesterday's opening of the Pacific Basin Economic Council's 33rd annual meeting at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Some 453 local participants joined Koenig at the Hawaii Business Forum, a public event that organizers created to give Hawaii businesses a chance to learn from the international conference.

Koenig said the all-day event, which cost $100 per person, was worthwhile because it got her and other business people out of the office, and showed them how business works outside the islands.

"You have to get out of your four walls," she said.

As a side benefit, Koenig also passed out a few business cards.

PBEC comprises 1,100 multinational corporations that together produce $4 trillion in revenues and employ 10 million people.

During the public forum, Hawaii's businesses also got insights on doing business overseas, said Thelma Gretzinger, president of the Gretzinger Corp.

She is with the Hawaii Society of Corporate Planners, which organized the event along with Bank of Hawaii, the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and others.

Speakers yesterday included Kenneth Courtis, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs Asia; Yip Yan Wong, chairman of the Wywy Group; and a panel with executives from Oracle Corp.

Gretzinger said going after global markets would help many companies in Hawaii, such as engineering firms and retailers. "You can always export more," she said.

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