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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, March 1, 2010

BUSINESS BRIEFS
Toyoda hopes to ease China worries


Advertiser News Services

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

A worker prepares a booth at the CeBIT fair in Hanover, Germany. The world's biggest information fair is this week, and includes some 4,157 exhibitors from 68 nations.

JOERG SARBACH | Associated Press

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TOKYO Fresh from a grilling by U.S. lawmakers, Toyota President Akio Toyoda will speak today in China about his company's quality problems, seeking to boost confidence and ease consumer worries in the world's biggest auto market.

Toyoda, who testified at a U.S. congressional hearing last week about the spate of global recalls plaguing Toyota Motor Corp., will speak to reporters at a Beijing hotel, company spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said.

Toyota has ambitious plans for growth in China, where it and its global rivals are finding growth that was stagnating even before the recall crisis involving 8.5 million vehicles began in October.

AIG BOARD APPROVES SALE OF ASIAN UNIT

NEW YORK The board of American International Group Inc. has approved the sale of its Asian life insurance arm to British life insurer Prudential PLC, according to media reports yesterday.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, reported the deal could be announced as early as today. Prudential would pay with a mixture of $35.5 billion in cash and stock, it reported on its Web site. Talks of a deal were first reported by Sky News.

AIG has said it plans to sell the unit, American International Assurance Co., or turn it into a separate company to help pay off the debt it owes to the U.S. government.

SOUTHEAST ASIA MAY MIMIC EU MAKEUP

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia Southeast Asian nations yesterday said they are still aiming to set up a European Union-style economic community by 2015 despite concerns the global slump has led to a rise in trade protectionism.

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations plans to have a free flow of goods, services, investment and skilled labor within five years, although it has fallen short so far in most of the sectors targeted for accelerated integration.