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2009 Fujian Delegation

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Big deals made on AmCham’s “West Strait” whirlwind tour
 
Day 1: Fuzhou
 
The delegation arrived in Fuzhou and the lovely Shangri-La Hotel and then toured the Fuzhou Software Park, which park featured the “traditional three lanes and seven streets.”
 
Later that evening, AmCham President Harley Seyedin, Treasurer Tim Wen, U.S. Foreign Commercial Service Commercial Consul Ireas Cook, Member of the CPPCC and President of the Dongguan City Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment Eddie Leung and the rest of the 83-strong delegation were hosted for dinner by Deputy Director General Chen Shaohe of the Fujian Provincial Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation.
 
Shortly after the banquet commenced, Fujian Vice Governor Ye Shuangyu and U.S. Consul General Robert Goldberg arrived from an impromptu meeting that had been held nearby; the dignitaries were joined on the stage by Ms Cook and Messrs Seyedin, Wen and Leung and then addressed the assembled delegates and government officials. Following that, the perfunctory exchange of gifts began.
 
Day 2: Fuzhou to Xiamen
 
In the morning, a business matchmaking seminar was organized to bring AmCham members and notable Fuzhou enterprises together to collaborate on high-tech, green projects in Fuzhou and its environs.
 
Presided over by Fuzhou Vice Mayor Chen Weimin—who stressed Fuzhou’s particular interest in high-tech, modern service and cultural industry investment, precisely what the majority of delegates represented—Consul General Goldberg and AmCham President Seyedin, the seminar was the first of many fruitful meetings for both Fujian and the delegates, leading to several of the numerous deals inked on the trip.
 
After a thoughtful luncheon buffet hosted by the Fuzhou municipal government, we departed for Xiamen!
 
A scenic and comfortable bus ride later, the AmCham delegation assembled for the U.S. Consulate’s U.S. Independence Day celebration in the Lotus Room of the brand-new Wyndham Hotel, which stands a stone’s-throw away from the sea.
 
While the group got busy meeting the local attendees, Consul General Goldberg and Harley Seyedin met for the second time in as many days with Vice Governor Ye, who was delighted to hear of the striking success of the matchmaking seminar earlier that day.
 
The Independence Day celebration began as Vice Governor Ye, Consul General Goldberg and President Harley Seyedin joined the hundreds-strong crowd in the main venue. Consul General Goldberg and Vice Governor Ye both paid tribute to the shared history of the United States and China (and Fujian in particular) and looked forward to many more years of bright cooperation and mutual understanding on the 30th anniversary of the normalization U.S.-P.R.C. relations. Joining the AmCham delegation and consulate officers were Vice Secretary General of the Fujian Provincial Government Luo Jian and Vice Mayor of Xiamen Zhan Cangzhou, among other dignitaries.
 
In a testament to the Consulate officers’ hard work and the Wyndham’s excellent food and beverages, the party ran late (but not too late) as people departed with smiles and friends.
 
Day 3: Xiamen
 
On the final day of this whirlwind trip, delegates were up bright and early to attend an investment promotion seminar given by Vice Director General Wen Xiaohong of the Xiamen Foreign Investment Promotion Bureau, who shared several interesting facts about Xiamen and its investment environment:
 
·          Xiamen island is connected to its surrounding districts by four bridges and one tunnel
·          Xiamen was named a U.N. Habitat in 2005, and a World Bank Gold Medal City in 2007
·          The Xiamen International Airport is served by 27 airlines with 150 routes, making it the fourth-largest gateway airport in Asia
·          Between 1998 and 2008 Xiamen’s foreign trade grew six folds
·          Since the beginning of the decade, Xiamen’s retail sales volume has grown on average 15% year-on-year, and had reached 36 billion yuan in 2008
·          At the end of 2008, there had been 8,284 foreign-invested projects approved in Xiamen, including 382 U.S.-invested projects
·          FDI has made great contributions to Xiamen’s economy, accounting for 30% of the city’s fixed assets, 50% of its jobs and 80% of its GDP
 
After the presentation, the delegates toured the Xiamen Software Park and then attended briefings on the unique opportunities offered by the Guanyinshan International Business Center and the Wuyuanwan Business Operating Center (where they also heard more about the four bridges and one tunnel).
 
Finally, a luncheon with Xiamen Vice Mayor Ye Chonggeng at the well-known Xiamen Yeohwa Hotel provided a suitable culmination to the mission, and in addition featured a surprise MOU signing ceremony with Vice Director General Xu Meidi of the Fujian CCPIT and AmCham President Harley Seyedin (representing his own company) agreeing to a $500 million investment deal in the West Taiwan Strait Economic Zone focusing on green energy technology development. The signing was presided over by Vice Mayor Ye, Consul General Goldberg, AmCham Treasurer Tim Wen, Commercial Consul Ireas Cook and U.S. Consulate Economic and Political Section Chief Steve Lang.
 
On the trip back home to Guangzhou, everyone on the delegation was tired, but optimistic—with the West Taiwan Strait Economic Zone only in its infancy, more opportunities and more deals will undoubtedly follow, and AmCham South China members will be front-and-center when they happen.

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