For Immediate Release
Man Wang, WSCRC
WASHINGTON STATE CHINA RELATIONS COUNCIL NAMES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, STRENGTHENS POSITION AT CRITICAL TIME
Nation’s oldest state-level China organization advocates for constructive relations amid tension
JUNE 27, 2019 – SEATTLE – The Washington State China Relations Council (WSCRC) is pleased to announce the appointment of J. Norwell Coquillard as the organization’s new executive director. Mr. Coquillard has two decades’ experience living and working in China and brings to the Council a deep understanding of the bilateral trade, business and cultural relationship, and how best to effectively advance constructive ties between Washington state and China.
This year marks the fortieth anniversary for the WSCRC, the nation’s oldest state-level organization focused on strengthening relations with China. Under Mr. Coquillard’s leadership, the Council will leverage its extensive network and its legacy of furthering engagement with China to fortify the state’s strategic position in the U.S.-China dialogue.
“The U.S.-China relationship is highly contentious and volatile,” said Mr. Coquillard. “At times of increased tension between our two countries, it is more important than ever that our organization advance a thoughtful, constructive agenda and support our member companies as they look to navigate this complex landscape.”
Washington state is the most trade-driven state in the country, with more than $16 billion in goods exported to China by Washington state companies in 2018 alone. As the Trump administration pursues a trade policy focused on tariffs and confrontational rhetoric, the Council will continue to curate a fact-based, constructive dialogue that supports Washington businesses and advocates for policies that benefit the state.
“The Council is stepping up our programming and expanding our reach to provide our members and the community forums and resources to advance a constructive relationship,” Mr. Coquillard continued. “At this critical juncture, balanced leadership and strategic advocacy is critical.”
Mr. Coquillard located to the Seattle area in late 2016 after more than three decades living in Asia. Prior to his move, Mr. Coquillard served as the Chairman and President of Enactus China, the China operations of the U.S.-based non-profit. From 2011 to 2017, he also served as the of Chairman of IMA China, an organization that hosts forums for the China-based CEOs of multinational corporations.
Before that, Mr. Coquillard was the chairman and president of Cargill Investment (China) Limited, the China operating company for Cargill, the largest privately held company in the U.S. During his tenure, the company’s operations in China expanded rapidly, from 300 employees to over 5,000. Prior to arriving in China 1998, Mr. Coquillard served as the country manager for Cargill’s operations in Japan and Korea from 1984 until 1997. He served as the Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai in 2008 and 2009, and currently serves as a member of the International Advisory Board of APCO Worldwide, the global communications firm.
The WSCRC also announced that Marc Berger has been named chair of the organization’s board of directors. Mr. Berger is a vice president and partner at Nyhus Communications, a Seattle-based strategic consultancy, where he focuses on crisis management and executive communications. Mr. Berger has served as a board member and member of the WSCRC executive committee since 2014.
During 2019, the Council is hosting a series of programs to celebrate the organization’s 40-year legacy, culminating in the Anniversary Banquet on October 24 in Seattle. These programs included an event honoring the 40th anniversary of the M. V. Liu Lin Hai’s arrival at the Port of Seattle in 1979, the first Chinese ship to port in North America following a thirty-year gap in the bilateral trade relationship. Later that year, the Port of Seattle signed a sister port agreement with the Port of Shanghai, the first such agreement between a Chinese and American port.
About the WSCRC
Founded in 1979, the Washington State China Relationship Council is the leading statewide organization dedicated to strengthening commercial, educational and cultural ties with China. With a membership that includes global companies, government agencies and leading experts, the Council facilitates dialogue and organizes delegations with American and Chinese business and government leaders on key policy issus, including investment, trade, environment and diplomacy. The Council has hosted or co-hosted every Chinese leader since Deng Xiaoping, including the visit of President Xi Jinping to Seattle in 2015, as well as the 2014 Bo’ao Forum for Asia, the first time the conference was held in North America.