What the Trump Administration Could Mean for Hawai‘i Business

Jan 13, 2017

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With President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration a week away, Pacific Business News took the temperature of local industries on their expectations of the new administration. PBN editor-in-chief A. Kam Napier has more.

Obviously, it’s a bit early to know precisely what the Trump administration could mean for various sectors of Hawaii’s economy. He hasn’t even been sworn in and his cabinet is still in the confirmation process. But the long campaign season gave plenty of hints, so we interviewed leaders in banking, energy, health care, real estate and transportation for their take. What are they looking for from the new administration? What are they hopeful about? What worries them?

Ed Pei, president of the Hawaii Bankers Association, hopes to see a new approach to banking regulation, one that consults more with the banking industry. The Dodd-Frank Act, passed in 2010 in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, contains both sensible protections worth keeping, in Pei’s view, but also regulations that are needlessly burdensome on smaller banks.

Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, has his eye on Trump’s promises to invest in infrastructure. For his industry, improvements in air traffic control systems would result in greater efficiencies for airlines and shorter flights for passengers.

Hawaii’s solar industry seems the most concerned about the Trump administration, worried that it will roll back incentives for renewable energy while supporting fracking. Colin Yost, partner with RevoluSun, says Hawaii has opportunity to lead by example, pushing ahead with its renewable energy goals.

Other executives weighed in health care and housing policies that they’re going to be watching closely.