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Friday, March 17, 2000

PBEC logo

Summit gives
Hawaii big chance to
strut its stuff

Many people hope to make a
profitable impression on business
leaders attending the
PBEC meeting

Demonstrations not expected

By Susan Kreifels


Twelve Hawaii businesses are promoting themselves with complimentary sets of golf balls carrying their logos. Hawaii Pacific University is supplying 100 student volunteers, and Gov. Ben Cayetano has asked airport employees to wear their broadest smiles.

The reason: the Pacific Basin Economic Council's 33rd annual international meeting that runs today through Wednesday at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and Hawaii Convention Center -- an event officials say will be the largest, most diverse and most influential gathering of corporate movers and shakers in Hawaii's history.

It also may be the state's best one-time shot to improve a poor business image abroad and, for local businesses, the ultimate elbow-rub with investment capital. To people on the streets, that could translate into jobs.

"This is the ultimate, a networking dream," said Ken Erdman, chairman of PacRim Marketing Group Inc. and author of "Network Your Way To Success." "You'll meet people you just couldn't get to any other way."

PBEC represents 1,100 corporations that account for more than $4 trillion in sales and 10 million employees. From 600 to 700 people are expected to travel here for the meeting, including 453 delegates and speakers, 127 spouses, and international media.

"Hawaii, Global Islands" -- a magazine-format publication by the state -- left the presses just in time for the event.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Peter Schall, vice president and managing director of Hilton Hawaiian
Village, and Nola Miyasaki, acting executive director and CEO of High
Tech Development Corp., hold golf balls with their companies' logos on
them. Twelve local companies are promoting themselves by putting their
logos on golf balls. A set of balls will be given to each of the PBEC
(Pacific Basin Economic Council) business delegates next week.

It touts Hawaii as a well-wired international business spot where people can "work hard, play hard, live longer and prosper."

But some in the business community have been surprised at the lack of plans tied to the meeting, such as community welcomes, store discounts, and signs in shops.

It could be a simple matter of the size of the meeting, they speculated -- or, more seriously, a continued failure to see the importance of a global image.

"I'm very concerned that I saw a lot of attention given to the 30,000 dentists in town, but I haven't seen nearly as much effort put into welcoming the delegates and their guests," said Jan Berman, president of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii, referring to the American Dental Association convention here last year.

"For a 'small group,' these are the world's most influential economic leaders and captains of industries coming to town for very serious business meetings. We have no way of knowing what the economic ramifications could be."

At least 60 local people will be attending the full conference, among them four HPU officials.

"It's up to the host city to show itself to the delegates," said E. Rick Stepien, HPU vice president for administration. "Hawaii needs a jolt, and this could be it."

Paul Klink, president and chief executive officer of the Klink Inc. advertising agency, said he is a full delegate because he hopes to establish contacts. He plans to give delegates his own promotional packet, which includes "Live Aloha" buttons and information about his company.

"I want to fly into Paris or Tokyo and be able to give someone a call," Klink said.

Meanwhile, about 440 local business people have signed up for a special one-day session created for Hawaii's small-and-medium sized companies, with more than 60 applicants turned away because of space limitations.

Seiji Naya, director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, said people should not expect investment and jobs to roll in right away, but in the long run, the conference could have big payoffs.

Investment in the future

"It's their lasting impression of Hawaii," Naya said. "It may not have an immediate impact. But if they're thinking of a place to do business, eventually it could mean more investment, more partnerships, conventions and meetings."

Annual PBEC meetings in the past have drawn from 400 to 800 delegates. After one in Tokyo next year, PBEC -- which has its secretariat in Honolulu -- hopes to hold the next three annual meetings here. Much depends on the success of the next few days, though.

State officials say Hawaii's poor business image was a major factor behind Hawaii losing its bid for the World Trade Organization conference last year. To help change that image, the state has invited delegates to join tours of natural energy labs on the Big Island, agricultural research and development, and biotech projects.

Naya also sent a special-delivery letter to guest speaker Steve Forbes, the publishing magnate and former presidential candidate, to let him know before he arrives that what Forbes magazine dubbed "The People's Republic of Hawaii" has improved its business climate.

Businesses have roughly matched government funding for the event. Bob Fishman, chief executive of the Hawaii Tourism Authority and a member of the conference steering committee, said the authority contributed $700,000 to the event, with $96,000 of that going to DBEDT for promotions. The private sector contributed $625,000 cash plus in-kind services.

"All it would take for a change of visitor profile is to earn the admiration and support of some of these key decision-makers," Fishman said.

Sun, fun and finance

At a meeting earlier this week, about 100 government and business people gathered to discuss the conference and the new image Hawaii should portray: melding sun and fun with serious business. Cayetano and Mayor Jeremy Harris have asked delegates to attend meetings in aloha wear, which some stores will sell at 20 percent discount.

"B&B -- Beaches to Business," said Paul Rehob, executive vice president for business development and finance at the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii.

The "Global Islands" publication tries to promote that theme, showing the advantages of working in a beautiful place with good quality of life, excellent telecommunications and facilities, and an advantageous time zone. The conference offers a definitive testing ground for the campaign.

"Tourism and business truly coexist," said Katsumi Tanaka of Enoa Tours. "Let's deliver (that message) with tenacity. It's not either-or."

And while it's important to turn the minds of those on the outside looking in, conference chairman Lawrence Johnson is just as concerned about changing the way people in Hawaii view the world.

"For so many years, we didn't need to look beyond our boundaries," said Johnson, chairman and CEO of Pacific Century Financial Corp./Bank of Hawaii. "We haven't sold ourselves. We've gotten complacent and lazy. If there's one thing the conference should do, it's allow us to become more global."

PBEC's Web site is at

Conference brings
variety of speakers

The PBEC meeting will include some major names in business and government. Among the delegates and speakers are:

Bullet Charlene Barshefsky, U.S. trade representative
Bullet Adm. Dennis Blair, CINCPAC
Bullet Sir Peter Blake, syndicate head, Team New Zealand
Bullet Rafael Buenaventura, governor, Central Bank of the Philippines
Bullet Wayne Booker, vice chairman, Ford Motor Co.
Bullet Tadao Chino, president, Asian Development Bank
Bullet Ronnie Chan, chairman, Hang Lung Development Co. Ltd.
Bullet S.R. Cho, chairman, Hyosung Group
Bullet Vance Coffman, chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corp.
Bullet Kenneth Courtis, vice chairman, Goldman Sachs Asia
Bullet John Paul DeJoria, chairman and CEO, John Paul Mitchell Systems
Bullet David Eldon, chairman, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. Ltd.
Bullet Guillermo Fernandez de Soto, foreign affairs minister, Colombia
Bullet Thomas Foley, U.S. ambassador to Japan
Bullet Steve Forbes, CEO and editor-in-chief, Forbes Inc.
Bullet Kosaku Inaba, chairman and CEO, Ishikawa-Harima Heavy Industries Co. Ltd.
Bullet Richard Koo, senior economist, Nomura Research Institute
Bullet Yoshihide Munekuni, chairman, Honda Motor Co.
Bullet Ernest Micek, chairman and CEO, Cargill Inc.
Bullet John Moore, minister of defense, Australia
Bullet David Murdock, chairman and CEO, Dole Food Co. Inc.
Bullet Minoru Murofushi, Chairman, ITOCHU Corp.
Bullet Joseph Prueher, U.S. ambassador to China
Bullet Fidel Ramos, former president, the Philippines
Bullet Donna Tanoue, chair, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Bullet Iwao Toriumi, chairman, Marubeni
Bullet John Wadsworth, chairman, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Asia Ltd.
Bullet Derek Williams, president, Asia Pacific Division, Oracle Corp.
Bullet Y.B. Tun Dato' Daim Zainuddin, finance minister, Malaysia

Police, organizers see no
threat of demonstrations

By Susan Kreifels


Organizers and police say they have no indications demonstrations are planned at the Pacific Basin Economic Council meeting, in light of the street clashes that took place in Seattle during a World Trade Organization conference late last year.

And they point out that the two meetings are vastly different.

Police Maj. John Kerr, commander of the Waikiki Uniform Patrol Division, said the police department has gathered no intelligence of protest activity. Local, state, federal and international forces will be involved with security, but Kerr declined to give details.

The department sent a police officer to observe the World Trade Organization conference since Honolulu had hoped for it. Kerr said the department wanted to learn about providing security for such events.

PBEC Secretary General Robert Lees said the WTO and his organization are different: WTO is a decision-making body of government officials, while PBEC is made up of private businesses that only make recommendations.

Lees noted that the three-day conference in Honolulu includes meetings on corporate and social responsibility, fighting corruption and protecting the environment. The absence of those issues in the WTO meetings brought protesters to Seattle.

At least 94 news media members have registered to cover the PBEC event, including China's official Xinhua News Agency, Asia Week newsmagazine, public TV's "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer," World Trade Magazine, Agence France-Presse, the Los Angeles Times, E-Business Network, several Korean publications and a leading Mexican financial publication.

Taiwan's elections and possible friction with China could steal the spotlight. While China is sending its biggest delegation ever, Taiwan is sending its smallest.

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