WSCRC Executive Director Nor Coquillard and Director Man Wang are in China this week participating in a Washington State Delegation visit to Shanghai and Hangzhou. The delegation, led by the Director General of the Washington State Department of Commerce, Dr. Lisa Brown, has met with a large number of companies with interests in investing in Washington as well as many provincial and municipal officials who came to Shanghai for China’s annual International Import Exhibition (CIIE). Dr. Brown also was a speaker at a conference sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce as well as at an International Aerospace Forum. The team has now moved to Hangzhou where they will meet with a number of technology companies with interests in investing in the Seattle area. In addition, the team will visit Zhejiang University and conduct discussions with the Hangzhou Municipal Government. The WSCRC team has been instrumental in ensuring that the visitors are well versed on how to operate effectively in China to ensure that the trip is successful.
The Washington State China Relationship Council held its 40th Anniversary Gala on the evening of October 24th in the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Seattle. Over 300 people including many dignitaries participated in the event which paid tribute to the Council’s long history of working to improve relations between Washington State and China. The dinner opened with notes of congratulations offered by the Lt. Governor of Washington State, Cyrus Habib, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and the Economic and Commercial Council of the People’s Republic of China, Yihang Yang.
Three of the five founders who created the Council in 1979 were in the audience and were recognized for their foresight in creating such an organization. After a tribute to Sidney Rittenberg, a recently deceased Council member who worked with both Mao Zedong and later, U.S. companies opening operations in China. Nelson G. Dong, a former Council Chairman and well-recognized Seattle based lawyer was presented with the Sidney Award for Lifetime Achievement in improving relations between Washington and China.
Seattle Port Commissioner Courtney Gregoire addressed the 40 years of cooperation between the NW Seaport Alliance and COSCO Shipping and presented an award to Nong Ding, the Chairman of COSCO Shipping North America.
Former Ambassador to China Max Baucus spoke fondly of his time in Beijing in his keynote speech. He explained how he came to understand how to effectively engage with senior members of the Chinese government, including Xi Jinping. Ambassador Baucus closed with his observations about the differences between the political systems between the U.S. and China and presented his ideas on how the U.S. must address its internal issues to remain a strong international power.
Following Senator Baucus, former Ambassador and Chinese Scholar Stapleton Roy provided his observations regarding Xi Jinping’s commitment to socialism and his view that China will eventually prevail in his struggle versus the U.S. The Ambassador closed by noting that the U.S. has no long-term strategy vis-à-vis China that puts the U.S. at a disadvantage.
The Council wishes to thank all those who have participated in this event.
Cameron Johnson, a Washington native who has lived in China for 20 years, spoke to members of the Council on October 8th. Cameron, a member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, reviewed the findings of Amcham’s annual business survey which was released last month. The survey’s key findings were that American businesses in China are, in general, profitable and still optimistic about the future. Cameron also reported on his recent participation on Amcham’s Doorknock to Washington where he met with members of Congress, the Administration as well as with think tanks. Cameron reported that he did not find any coherent strategy emanating from Washington on how to improve the U.S China relationship.
The Washington State China Relations Council and Greater Seattle Partners co-organized a business luncheon on September 16 for the Hong Kong Secretary of Innovation and Technology, Mr. Nicholas Yang. Attendees included representatives from local government agencies and businesses. Secretary Yang presented Hong Kong’s efforts and achievements in innovation and technology research and development, such as in healthcare and robotics, and government incentives and policies to attract businesses. Secretary Yang encouraged collaborations between Washington state and Hong Kong, given Washington’s stature as an international hub for innovation and technology and Hong Kong’s leading position within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Norwell Coquillard, Executive Director of the WSCRC and James Anderson, COO of Greater Seattle Partners, also provided brief remarks on each organization’s mission and activities.
The WSCRC held their Mid-Autumn Mixer on the evening of September 12th on the 37th floor rooftop garden of Davies Wright Tremaine’s new office tower. The Mid-Autumn Festival celebrates the harvest and is a time for family reunions. This networking event was an excellent opportunity for members of the WSCRC family and the Chinese Community to meet, particularly during this critical period in U.S.-China relations.
The event was well attended, with approximately 100 members of the community, including businesses, non-profits, civic leaders, and educational institutions. Former Ambassador to China and Washington State Governor Gary Locke outlined the importance of an organization like the WSCRC and its efforts to maintain strong relations at this time of increased tensions between the U.S. and China.
The WSCRC would like to thank our sponsors Onelin Capital and Davis Wright Tremaine for their generous support to make this event possible.