Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Chamber Makes Presentations to Japanese Delegation / Concerns Include Labor, City's Economy

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Chamber Makes Presentations to Japanese Delegation / Concerns Include Labor, City's Economy

Article excerpt

Labor agreements, the number of new companies that have confirmed they will come to Oklahoma and the city's economy were up permost in the minds Monday of a delegation of about 16 Japanese business and trade leaders currently visiting Oklahoma.

Meeting with Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce officials Monday, the delegation heard presentations given by Rex Ball, chairman of the board of HTB Inc. of Oklahoma City; Don Smith, president of Smith Cogeneration and Gerald Gamble, president of the Gerald Gamble Co.

The group also had an opportunity to question chamber officals as well as two members of the Oklahoma City Council, Councilwoman Jackie Carey and Councilman I.G. Purser.

Although the press was excluded from the actual presentation given to the delegation, the meeting was opened during the question period following.

One delegation member asked for information concerning the recent Trans World Airlines attendants' strike, with chamber member Don Smith replying that labor unions in Oklahoma "are extremely cooperative" and work stoppages something of a rarity.

The delegation also asked about what the city's elected leaders are doing about the declining economy and its effects on the city's overall economic base.

Various chamber officials stressed that while the decline in worldwide oil prices has impacted on Oklahoma City, that impact has been to a lesser extent because of the city's "diverse economic base."

"We're trying to offset the oil decline," Councilman Purser told the group. "It seems that there is a need for industry related to Tinker Air Force Base. . .it's an area we have not explored in thepast."

Following up on that note was Chamber of Commerce President Ed Cook, who told the delegation that while Tinker's contracting budget exceeds $3.5 billion, "Oklahoma City only gets about $100 millionof that.

"We need people to come in and help us get those contracts to keep them in Oklahoma City," Cook said.

Repeating comments made Friday during a state capitol news conference, Kunio Komatsu, leader of the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry said he was impressed by the scenic beauty of Oklahoma and the warm hearts of the people. …

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