Friday, June 4, 1999

State lands meeting
of WTO ministers

The date and site for the event
still is being worked out

Star-Bulletin staff


Hawaii has been selected as the site for a meeting next year of World Trade Organization trade ministers. It is the first meeting of WTO ministers in Hawaii.

Trade ministers will be coming from the European Union, Japan, Canada and the United States, said Charlene Barshefsy, U.S. trade representative.

Gov. Ben Cayetano said the meeting date and other details are being worked out by trade officials in Washington, D.C. A meeting site has not been disclosed.

The meeting will come at a crucial time in the trade arena. The United States will have just initiated a major new round of multilateral trade negotiations to expand global trade and create new opportunities for U.S. firms and workers.

Cayetano received the news in Japan via a telephone call from Vice President Al Gore.

"I'm pleased that Hawaii will be hosting this important conference of trade ministers," Gore said. "Gov. Cayetano has been a strong advocate for the conference to be in Hawaii." Cayetano said the meeting will help boost Hawaii's image as a place to do business.

"As former Gov. John Burns noted, we have the potential to become the Geneva of the Pacific," Cayetano said. "Attracting this gathering of trade ministers is another step in that direction. It will offer yet another opportunity to showcase Hawaii's investment potential, our first-rate telecommunications infrastructure, multiethnic population and spectacular environment."

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