PACIFIC NATIONS MUST GET "FISCAL HOUSE" IN ORDER: BANK OF HAWAII

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HONOLULU, Hawaii (April 15, 1998 - PIDP/CPIS/Hulsen)---The Bank of Hawaii's Chief Economist, Paul Brewbaker, says Asia's financial chaos has an important message for the Pacific Islands region.

Writing in a just-released bank economic report, he says, "perhaps the most relevant lesson for Pacific Island economies from the recent Asian experience is the most simple. "Get your fiscal house in order," he recommends. "The roots of this crisis can be traced to economic mismanagement and fiscal excess."

Brewbaker recommends that officials anticipate and quickly develop strategies to deal with the near-term impacts of the current Asian fiscal turbulence. This is especially important, he adds, because so many Pacific nations focus their export and economic development strategies on Asian economic growth.

It is important to remember, the Bank of Hawaii economist adds, that Asia's growth potential remains significant notwithstanding recent events.

Whether its tourism, garments, tropical agriculture, marine minerals, fisheries, aquaculture or something else, notes Brewbaker, Pacific Islands economies will continue to depend on Asia in particular to earn foreign revenues.

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