China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce ®
Hong Kong.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce ®
Asia Pacific California Chamber of Commerce ®

"Hawaii-California-China Guan Xi, We Get Things Done" - Trade Advocacy Organization

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 USA Small Business Administration (SBA) Selected Johnson Choi/HKCHcc 2008 United States National Champion

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BRENDA FOSTER, PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN SHANGHAI; Comments to the Hong Kong China Hawaii Chamber of Commerce (HKCHcc) at the Pacific Club 2/14/2008 - Recording Courtesy of Jay Fidell, Think Tech Hawaii

Honolulu-Hawaii Friday June 6th: Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce (HKCHcc) and InvestHK Business Luncheon featuring Simon Galpin, Associate Director-General, Invest Hong Kong, HKSAR Government - “Hong Kong – Your Best Partner and Risk Manager in China” - Opening Remarks by Johnson Choi, President of the HKCHcc

Good afternoon House Speaker Calvin Say; Governor George Ariyoshi and Mrs. Jean Ariyoshi, Mark Anderson, Deputy Director of Hawaii DBEDT; Our Co-sponsors Jill Takasaki Canfield, Executive Director of Pacific Asian and Affairs Council and Vance Roley Dean and David Yang, Associate Dean of Shidler College of Business at UH Manoa, Ladies and Gentlemen, Aloha.

Thank you for coming to our business luncheon allowing us to share with you why “Hong Kong is Your Best Partner and Risk Manager in China” to be presented by Mr. Simon Galpin, Associate Director-General of InvestHK, HKSAR Government after lunch.

We have been working with the HKSAR Government through HKETO SF, InvestHK and Others since 1996 helping a long list of Hawaiian Companies and in many cases partnering with Companies in California, New York and London successfully launching their products, services, media, technology and investment in Hong Kong and/or through Hong Kong into China and throughout Southeast Asia.

Hawaii and Hong Kong have certain things in common:

1) Both have practically no natural resources, almost everything have to be shipped in.
2) Hong Kong is smaller than the Island of Kauai, but 5Xs of the population of the State of Hawaii; Like Hawaii, Hong Kong has transformed from Manufacturing/Agriculture into Service & Technology based economy. HK has emerged to become a key financial center in Asia.
3) Like Hawaii, Hong Kong receive healthy income from tourists, more than 26 million people visited Hong Kong in 2007 and growing.
4) It is a shopping haven as almost everything entered HK duty free like the Hawaiian Host Chocolates, the Kona Coffee, the high end Koa furniture, the Big Island Papaya and yes Wine made in Hawaii and around the world.
5) You can sell your products in China without entering China. There are more than 15 million tourists from China visiting Hong Kong each year. It is an ideal place to test your product appeal to the China market.

Couple of mark differences between Hong Kong and Hawaii is Hong Kong tax is probably 1/10 of those in Hawaii when you add Federal, State and General Excise Tax combined; and Hong Kong is very business friendly enjoyed by more than 100,000 Americans currently working and living in Hong Kong. The 133 miles 150 stations Mass Transit System and State of the Art Airport in Hong Kong is probably the best in Asia cost more than US$50 billions and growing all built without any tax increase.

One very important role Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce has been playing as an organization is to promote understanding between the People of United States and our Asian counter with special focus in Hong Kong and China. To develop a business relationship, companies should have some basic understanding of the Host culture, adequate preparation, advance information on regulatory requirements and financial commitments. We are hoping to be here to bridge the gap and provide you with useful hand on information helping you to move forward to minimize the risk of business and political landmines.

Our offices in Honolulu, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Shanghai are able to assist our members by providing them with local intelligence and logistic supports through partnership such as InvestHK, United States Commercial Services, American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

An institution, an organization, a Chamber of Commerce cannot function without good and knowledgeable management team. They are the people that run the day to day operation. I am fortunate and bless with the support from many of you in the room as well as my Officers and Directors that make my daily challenging work very rewarding.

We will break for lunch now. After lunch, I will introduce our speaker. Enjoy it, thank you.

Honolulu Hawaii USA: May 16 2008 Keynote Speech to 300 guests – Titled “I believe that Children are our Future” Presented by Johnson Choi at the Dole Cannery HACTE “Hawaii’s Future Fortune 500 Luncheon”

Mr. Soma, President of the Hawaii Association for Career and Technical Education, Fellow UH TIM Alumni, honor guests, friends and students.

Leaders from the East and the West frequently saying “Children are our future” and Singer Whitney Houston has a song start out saying "I believe that children are our future". When I was at the white house meeting with President George Bush a little over two (2) weeks ago, our President also talk about the future of our Children and Small Business who is providing more than 75% of the new jobs in the United States.

We must help our Children to understand and believe that they are the stake holders and future for Hawaii. We as businessman, businesswoman, educator, politician, union leader and voters must take a practical approach to provide the necessary tools for our Children to excel to bring positive impact to the State of Hawaii. A well educated work force is crucial on the ability of a City, a State and a Country to compete and survive in the increasing competitive world economy.

What is Hawaii’s future in the context of the boundaries of our State surrounded by water?

I have witnessed the changes since I arrived in Hawaii in 1974, the Big-5s of Hawaii, the Alexander and Baldwin, the Amfac, the Castle and Cooke, the C Brewer and the Theo Davis. Today, Alexander and Baldwin is the only Hawaii Company running the successful Matson Container ship with the protection of Jones Act and developing valuable Hawaii Real Estates.

When I attended Kauai Community College and Leeward Community College, the tuition per semester was only $25. When I transferred to University of Hawaii School of Travel Industry Management, the tuition per semester was only $145. The tuition fee charged by Chaminade University of Honolulu was $60 per credit hour for my MBA degree in 1977.

When I attended the UH School of Travel Industry Management in the 70s lead by Dean Emeritus Chuck Gee, in order to prepare us for future Hotel and Restaurant Management position, we are required to attend food and beverage courses, Food Lab, 800 hours of practical work experience as part of the degree requirement. The School had given us the tools and the means for UH TIM graduates to compete and win good paying jobs against Schools such as Cornell and University of Denver. TIM Night which was the hallmark of UH TIM until 2005 had connected our alumni in Hawaii, Asia, North America and Europe helped brought in 100s of thousands to the School. Two years after it was discontinued, our survey still show 89% of our alumni support TIM Night with the majority of the of the faculty and staff felt the same way. The pride of the UH TIM School is the Sunset Library, the computer lab and the Gee Technology Center that make us shine funded by 100s of thousands of dollars donated by 100s of UH TIM Alumni and donors around the world wanting to leave a permanent mark on UH Campus. Almost 1/3 of the donation has strong ties or came from alumni connected to major financial centers in Asia such as Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Japan.

I was the Vice President of a software company in Hawaii in the late 1990s. During a visit to a software company located at the Silicon Valley who wrote the computer code for the Intel Chips. The Company has 2,300 employees. The CEO and Founder of the Company have told the investment bankers in the room that his Company asset is the people. They go home every night. If his people do not return, his Company will be gone tomorrow. Buildings and Hardwares could be replaced easily, but not the people who work and loyal to him. Therefore for a University, it is not the Dean, but the Professor, Staff and alumni that make a School shine; for a State, it is the people and many of you in the room, our Children who help chart the destiny of the State of Hawaii.

Today, Hawaii depend heavily on Federal money, they are the billions of military funded projects, millions of military related research projects going to the University and private sectors. Therefore if you are contractors, developers and scientists attached to this federal money, you will continue to live a good life, earning high income.

Despite the talk of 100s of thousand of tourist from Countries like China to visit Hawaii in the coming years, today, Hawaii is ill prepare to receive foreign tour groups, except Japan. Lack of new hotel developments limit our ability to offer management position to graduates from our Universities. A fresh graduate to begin his/her career is Asia could make management 3x faster putting in the same time and efforts. The pay could be 200% higher when you take into account of cost of living and favorable tax breaks offered by the Federal Government.

You could also consider working for the Government. The challenge is your ability to find jobs in the private sectors as most private sectors employers do not like to hire former government employees.

What is Hawaii’s future in the context of our country, the United States of America?

It will depend on how long we can keep the Federal money coming.

As an Island State, we have limited resources. Almost everything we use in our daily life must be shipped in or flew in.

During the past 15 years, Hawaii has experience serious brain drain. Many of our best educated children left Hawaii for greener pasture in the mainland USA. Some have also moved to Asia. This is actually not unique to Hawaii. Let us use China as an example, workers from the poor country side of interior China moved to factories in Southern China for 3 – 5 times better pay. Another example is the Philippines. Many gave up their professions as Nurses and even Doctors, moved to Hong Kong to become maids for 3 – 6 times better pay.

Unless our graduates are getting better pay, we do not see the out migration to stop anytime soon.

How can we pay our graduates more? When Hawaii rank as the top 5 most expensive place to do business in the United States, it is rather difficult to attract new business to come to Hawaii.

Couple of days ago, John Rutledge, an economist for President Ronald Reagan and George Bush interviewed by the Honolulu Advertiser Newspaper has a house on Maui wondered why Billions of dollars flying around the world not landed in Hawaii. We have a growing list of wealthy individuals from around the world; many former Hawaii residents now own properties in Hawaii. For the past 10 years, I must have run into no less than 200 such wealthy individual. Each time, I have made an effort to ask them one question when they made similar comments such as John Rutledge. Their general comments are as follow:

1) My business in not in Hawaii, I come here to relax to enjoy the Sun, Sea and Surf,
2) Yes, I was born and raised in Hawaii, but now I am in my late 50s or early 60s, I think I should leave it to my Children to get involved on the future of Hawaii. My follow up question soon found out, for many of them, most of their children do not live in Hawaii. Many felt the Hawaii business climate has not improved since they left 10, 20 or 30 years ago.

Our challenge is how to attract those that come here for the Sun, Sea and Surf to stay longer to smell the roses and share their expertise with us.

For those successful returning former Hawaii residents, what can we do to encourage them to teach and share with us their formula of successes helping us to connect with the mainland USA economy beyond the Federal funding?

What is the Hawaii’s future in the context of the World economy?

We had our opportunity in the 70s to have an open sky policy for Hawaii when most airplanes must refuel in Hawaii. We had also an opportunity to ask for an exemption to the Jones Act in the 70s, allowing better and competing non-USA shipping companies to enter the Hawaii market. The challenges is for the policy makers in Hawaii to understand and to convey the message to Washington DC to help them understand that we are the only state that everything must be shipped in/out of Hawaii by Air and Ship only. Hawaii has no natural resources. We need to import almost everything from outside of Hawaii and cannot be treated same as the other 49 States.

Hawaii has an excellent reputation in tourism and our natural beauty, rank top 5 worldwide. In terms of Hawaii as a business destination, we are nowhere to be seen. Many corporations in North America and Asia do not want to hold conferences in Hawaii as shareholders have difficult times believing that serious meetings will be conducted in Hawaii. It is not unusual when we conduct serious business in Asia; we are asked “Where is the hula girl”, took the focus away from serious business discussions. Our business partners in New York and San Francisco are able to zero in serious business discussion without distractions.

We still see quotes from top Hawaii government officials saying that companies should come to Hawaii since we are the gateway to the Pacific because we are in the middle of the Pacific. It is only true geographically, no longer in business sense as we lost our advantages more than 15 years ago.

I am still seeing promotional material advocating that Hawaii’s high percentage of Asian population such as the Japanese, the Filipino, the Korea, the Chinese, and the Vietnamese and so on qualify us for direct ties and understanding to the countries I just mentioned. Since majority of our Chamber members and clients are from Asia. We found out after the 2nd generation, most of the immigrant families have no idea where their relatives are from their home country.

If the majority of the People live in Hawaii want a better life for our Children and our Grand Children, private sectors businesses must take the lead. The government and the power of government which can be addictive must step back allowing the private sectors to take its place gradually. Government should monitor, regulate and oversee without direct involvement of the day to day business operation.

Let us use the Honolulu Mass Transit as an example, if the City will use the Tokyo or Hong Kong business models, we do not have to pay the ½ % general excise tax with millions of annual deficits by allowing the private sector to build the entire system at no cost to the City in exchange for development rights at the transit stations. Development on top of the transit stations could ensure ridership. By using the Government business model, it has increase the cost for all of us doing business in Honolulu. Future operational deficit may result in increase of our Real Property tax.

Given the opportunity working with the 4 major Universities in Hawaii (not to mentioned a number of ivory league college in Asia we work with frequently), we found each of them offer different ways to put a degree or program together. If you plan to get your college degree from one of the colleges in Hawaii, I will suggest you to talk to the alumni in the field of your interest to find out what they like or don’t like about the program they had attended. You should do one more thing, share with the alumni the courses being offer now as it could change, sometimes substantially from time to time. For example, if you want to become a hotel manager and one day manage one of the 500 new hotels being built in Asia each year. A school that only offer tourism or a course or two in transportation may not be the right school you want to go to as it will ill prepare you in the field of your interest.

Beside Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, there are two (2) organizations you may want to consider joining. They are the Tax Foundation Hawaii and Small Business Hawaii. Tax Foundation Hawaii provide timely advise for many challenging issues we are facing today as a State and Small Business Hawaii like its name said represent the Small Businesses in Hawaii and many issues they are facing daily.

I will also encourage our student to get involved in non-profit organization and support your school. The School is only as good as its alumni. Many of the alumni with the best idea may not live in Hawaii. They have so much to offer, please do not treat them as second class citizen. I see people giving to non-profit expecting pay back, helping non-profit and your school with no expectation of pay back, avoid conflict of interest. You will find your life more enriched and rewarding.

In time of natural disaster, reach out to those alumni that live there. Let us use UH TIM School as an example, ¼ of our alumni now live and work in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore. The good will you offer in time of need like the horrify earthquake in China last week, for every dollar you spent, you could get 100s or even 1,000s of times back to benefit your school and the State of Hawaii in the future. Think long term, do not let politics to get into your way, reach out with our Aloha spirit.

To our students, venture out to see the world, come back during the prime of your life and help Hawaii to become an even better place to live, to work and raising our children. Do not forget to give thanks to your Parents and teachers. Many have to work very hard and gave personal sacrifices to send you to high school and college.

I would like to share with you “The Paradoxical Commandments” written by Kent Keith, a White House Fellow in the 60s. I have felt very warm about it. It has shared many of my father’s life philosophy in our daily teaching and dealing with people.
1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered, Love them anyway.
2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
6. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
10. Give the world the best you have and you will get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

Last, but not least, I would like to thank my Wife, Carmen, allowing me to spend no less than 20 hours per week on non-profit organizations such as the Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, T.I.M. International Inc – the alumni association of the UH School of Travel Industry Management and others. Without her support and continuous encouragement, I will probably not able to do what I am doing.

Thank you.

Johnson Choi, MBA, RFC.
2008 SBA Minority Small Business Champion of the Year - National Winner
http://www.hkchcc.org/sba.htm
President
Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce
"Hawaii-China Guan Xi, We Get Things Done™"
Offices in Honolulu, San Francisco, Hong Kong and China
http://www.hkchcc.org
Vice Chair - Hawaii Pacific Export Council (HPEC)

April 23 2008: Honolulu man honored in D.C.

Honolulu businessman Johnson Choi was honored by the Small Business Administration as 2008 Minority Champion during a ceremony today in the nation's capital. Choi was one of 10 small-business owners and leaders of small-business support organizations nationwide recognized for their support of entrepreneurs. The SBA Champion Awards were presented as part of the annual observance of National Small Business Week. Choi, president of the Hong Kong-China-Hawai'i Chamber of Commerce, works with many Asian immigrants to start businesses, particularly in the area of exporting. He won at the state and regional level before claiming the national title. "The SBA is proud to honor these men and women as true champions of small business, whose tireless efforts have provided tangible and significant support to small businesses and to their communities," said SBA Administrator Steve Preston.

Video 1/3 Video 2/3 Video 3/3 CNN Shadow TV

Friday, September 28, 2007 at 2:00 P.M. (EST) - Conference call with Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez update on pending Free Trade Agreements with Peru, Colombia, Panama and South Korea

Listen to the 13 minutes audio presentation online

"Take your business to China & Asia Through Hong Kong" view Johnson Choi presentation online video#1/2 video#2/2 (courtesy of YouTube) view Microsoft Power Point presentation

"China India and Hong Kong - Opportunities and Challenges" view Tom Moore presentation online  video#1/1 (courtesy of YouTube)

Thursday, September 13th, Santa Clara, California: A BUSINESS PROGRAM TO WELCOME AN OFFICIAL 30-MEMBER STRONG DELEGATION FROM HONG KONG AND FOSHAN (A MUNICIPALITY IN SOUTHERN CHINA) - HONG KONG AND FOSHAN: YOUR WINNING FORMULA IN CHINA

View Video #1/2 View Video #2/2 - Mike Rowse, Director General, InvestHK, Hong Kong SAR Government

Hawaii Public Radio Station FM 89.3

Tuesday, September 4, 2007 - “Business Beyond the Reef” to discuss the problems with imports from China, telling all sides of the story and then expand the discussion to revitalizing Chinatown - Special Guest: Johnson Choi, MBA, RFC. President - Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce (HKCHcc) and Danny Au, Manager, Bo Wah Trading

Listen to MP3

June 7, 2007

Managing an Unbalanced but Unavoidable Relationship - Joseph Borich, President of Washington State China Relations Council, Former Consul General to U. S. Consulate in Shanghai, China

At a recent China Town Hall forum at the East-West Center, Joseph J. Borich, executive director of the Washington State China Relations Council and former U.S. Foreign Service Officer with long experience in China including a posting as Consul-General in Shanghai from 1994 to 1997, addressed the opportunities and challenges posed by China’s growing economic, political, and military power. The China Town Hall forum was sponsored by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, the East-West Center, and the University of Hawaii Center for Chinese Studies.

The transformation of China over the past quarter-century is unprecedented in human history. China’s economy today is ten times larger than it was in 1980 and continues to grow by about 10 percent per year. It is likely to continue to grow at about this rate until 2020 at least, by which point it will challenge the U.S. for the title of the world’s largest economy.

For purposes of comparison, Latin America’s economy cumulatively has grown a total of 10 percent in the past 25 years. India, the other big emerging market sharing the spotlight of late with China, has grown by an average of 6 percent per year and only over the past 15 years. China’s economy is now three times larger than India’s and the gap is growing.

China’s spectacular growth has been fueled largely but not exclusively by foreign trade and foreign direct investment. In 1978 China’s total trade was about $20 billion and it was ranked thirtieth among trading nations.

In 2005, China’s total volume of trade exceeded $1.4 trillion and it is now the third largest trading nation. By the end of this year China will export more than the U.S. and at some point in the next two years China will move up a notch past the U.S. and become the world’s second largest trading nation. China’s growth has also been spurred by large inflows of foreign direct investment, which now cumulatively totals about $650 billion. Over the past several years, China has attracted more new foreign direct investment (FDI) than any other nation.

Of late we have seen the emergence of the reverse flow of foreign investment as China has stepped up its investment in other countries. Encouraged by new Chinese government policies, Chinese companies have increased outbound investment from about $550 million in the year 2000 to about $7 billion in 2005. However, that figure reflects only investment approved by the central government. It does not include investments approved by local governments or those made by Chinese overseas subsidiaries. Estimates of China’s total investment overseas from
all sources range from 50 percent to 300 percent more than the official figure.

Beijing has recently earmarked between $200-300 billion of its more than $1 trillion in foreign exchange reserves for outbound direct and portfolio investment. This could benefit many companies in the U.S. and elsewhere as well as have a measurable impact on global financial markets. About half of China’s outbound investment thus far has been targeted at petroleum, minerals and metals. The other half, though, has gone toward buying brands, technology and engineering skills as well as access to markets. The most publicized example of an investment aimed at acquiring a brand, technology and market access was Lenovo’s purchase of IBM’s PC business a couple of years ago.

For all of that, though, China’s emergence as one of the world’s leading economic powers has not been trouble-free. After accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 China quickly became a key link in the global supply chain. The trend of shifting manufacturing from elsewhere in Asia, Europe and the U.S. to China has accelerated rapidly since 2001. One important consequence of this was that China’s trade surplus with the United States has reached record levels. From 2002 onward, the U.S. trade deficit with China each year has been higher than any bilateral trade deficit we’ve ever posted, and, in fact, is reaching the level of our global trade deficit just a few years ago. Last year the deficit with China exceeded $232 billion.

Although the U.S. global trade deficit (nearing $900 billion) is very troubling, Washington’s bilateral trade deficit with Beijing is not particularly important economically for reasons I will explore shortly. Politically, however, the trade deficit with China is a different story. Since early 2005, China has come under increasing congressional and media criticism for its skyrocketing trade surplus with the U.S., intentional undervaluation of its currency as a means of subsidizing its exports, disruptions of the U.S. market, failure to provide adequate measures to protect U.S. intellectual property and to quash rampant piracy of intellectual property, along with assorted complaints about the pace and direction of China’s implementation of its WTO commitments.

Over the past two years there have been over 20 bills on China proposed in the U.S. Congress calling for actions against China that range from the symbolic to those that are harsh enough to seriously disrupt the relationship.  As the new Congress, now controlled by the Democratic Party, has settled in, the Congressional spotlight is beginning to shine even more harshly on China and the Bush administration, on trade issues in particular. Some of the criticism being handed out is well deserved and some form of Congressional action will no doubt happen.

Already the Bush administration has filed several WTO complaints alleging China has failed to keep its WTO commitments to protect intellectual property. Another U.S. complaint to the WTO charges that the Chinese government is using subsidies to boost Chinese exports. In another tactic, in April the U.S. Commerce Department found that Chinese government subsidies had given an unfair advantage to Chinese made coated paper in the U.S. market and began charging countervailing duties against the product. This is the first time that the U.S. has ever levied countervailing duties against a non-market economy. These actions followed growing Congressional pressure on the administration to address the trade deficit with China. However, these measures may be too little, too late.  Recently congressional leaders of both parties and in both houses have said they will introduce legislation to slap import duties on Chinese products to offset alleged export subsidies. Another bill, drafted by Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham, would impose a 27.5 percent tariff on all imports from China if China did not significantly revalue its currency. Another measure put forth would terminate Permanent Normal Trade Relations status for China and subject bilateral trade to an annual Congressional review. And these are but some examples of legislation that could be passed by Congress this year.

The problem is that the issues here are complex and broad and will not be “fixed” to the advantage of our overall national interests by shortsighted and narrowly focused legislation. The measures cited above reflect more the degree of Congressional frustration and anger and less a rational approach to addressing imbalances and inequities in our trade relationship with China.

Late last month, the second round of the Strategic Economic Dialogue met in Washington, DC co-chaired by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and China’s Vice Premier Wu Yi. These semiannual high level talks were agreed to by Presidents Bush and Hu Jintao when they met over a year ago. The first round was held in Beijing last December.

The Strategic Economic Dialogue was originally intended by the leaders of both countries to focus on medium to long term goals and to help anticipate and better manage issues that would inevitably arise. In particular the dialogue was designed to focus on areas such as reform of the financial sector, cooperation in energy and the environment and innovation.

Such is the state of tension right now in U.S.-China economic relations that the original intent of the dialogue was cast aside because of pressure to deal with more immediate issues, in particular, those that are especially contentious from the U.S.’ perspective: revaluation of the Chinese currency; protection of intellectual property; and full implementation of China’s WTO commitments, particularly but not only in the area of financial services, among others.

On the question of better protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) there was only a vaguely worded agreement to create a program for greater exchanges between the two countries’ customs authorities to strengthen IPR enforcement. There were no announcements regarding China’s exchange rate policy, although China broadened the band for the Renminbi daily exchange rate on the eve of the meeting from 0.3 to 0.5 percent, which led to a record high close of 7.65 Renminbi to the Dollar during the meetings.

This marked a cumulative appreciation of 8 percent since the summer of 2005 and would yield an appreciation of about 12 percent by year end if the wider band is maintained. The results of the recent Security Economic Dialogue were thus were modest indeed and are unlikely to deflect Congressional action, which may happen as early as June. Are we sliding toward a trade war with China? If we are, we should weigh the likely consequences carefully.

Unilateral action against China as the result of ill considered legislation (or pre-emptive administration actions to thwart such legislation) invites comparable retaliatory actions by China and also risks WTO-imposed penalties. There is much at stake here for American businesses, workers and farmers. China is now the fourth largest export market for the U.S. and U.S. exports to China have been growing at a much faster rate over the past two years than our imports from China. The volume of U.S. sales to China in 2005 was nine times that of 1990.

Also, U.S. exports to China have been growing at a much faster rate than with any of our other major trading partners.  For example, exports to our second-largest export market – Mexico – are only about quadruple what they were in 1990. Sales to Japan have increased only about 15 percent since 1990.

On the import side, our burgeoning trade deficit with China is not particularly noteworthy from an economic perspective. Trade displacement, especially in Asia, has driven down our trade deficits with other Asian countries by almost the same amount as our bilateral deficit with China has grown. This is simply because Asian countries have shifted export production from their home markets to China. Taiwan, for example, used to be the leader in laptop production, but is no longer making any laptops in Taiwan. All of Taiwan’s laptop factories have moved to the Mainland. In fact, about 60 percent of China’s exports are produced or assembled in foreign invested enterprises there. The actual added value of Chinese inputs is only 25-30 percent of the total value of China’s exports.

Thus, an increase in U.S. tariffs on imports from China, as is being considered in various forms by Congress, would penalize foreign (including American) invested enterprises in China far more than Chinese domestic enterprises.

Another group that would be penalized by increased tariffs on imports from China would be U.S. consumers, especially those on tight budgets who depend on finding in places like Wal-Mart a steady stream of good value, low cost items supplied mainly from China. Higher import duties simply constitute a consumption tax on Americans since the duties are for the most part passed on through the wholesale/retail chain and translate as higher shelf prices. Finally, the growing list of American companies who export to China will be hurt, too, because China will almost certainly retaliate in kind against any measures adopted by the U.S. to constrain imports from China.

The point here is that a trade war helps no one.

What, then, to do?

On April 2, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat from Montana and chairman of the powerful U.S. Senate Finance Committee, visited Seattle and gave an important foreign policy address on U.S.-China economic relations. The event was hosted by the Washington State China Relations Council. As Chairman of the Finance Committee – which has jurisdiction over international trade – Baucus will have enormous influence on U.S.-China relations. Although delivered in trade friendly Seattle, Baucus’ speech was directed to Beijing and to Washington, DC. He began by saying: “We must send a message of what China can do. We must send a message of what America can do. We must send a message of what our two countries can do together. We must begin a dialogue of the possible.” Baucus believes we must challenge our myths and engage in a dialogue of the possible with China because, “An increasing number of American workers, manufacturers and Members of Congress view China as the cause of stagnating wages and economic distress.” “In America, we risk creating a generation filled with resentment and suspicion. We risk creating a generation convinced that China is a greater threat than it is an opportunity. We risk creating a generation that blames China for job losses, factory closings and other hardships.” And, at the same time, “…more and more Chinese harbor suspicions about whether American really wants China to succeed.” In this climate, according to Baucus, we must send China a message that is “carefully calibrated,” one that is firm but fair. He said, “If we solve our problems with China, we can solve them elsewhere. If we unlock the potential of the China market, we can unlock the potential of other markets. If we can learn to cooperate with China, we can build stronger partnerships around the world. Yet if we fail with China, we will likely fail elsewhere.” In his speech Baucus called on China to bring more flexibility to its currency exchange rate, liberalize its markets by fully meeting its WTO commitments, protect intellectual property and actually move beyond WTO to define new levels of openness and liberalization.

However, Baucus also called on the U.S. to pull its share of the load, especially by spending more on export promotion and getting Americans to save more of their incomes and spend less. For after all, China is only exporting what Americans choose to buy and in the quantities Americans are demanding. Further, he called on the two countries to work more closely together in areas where we clearly have shared national interests, for example, in energy.

Unlike other proposed policies and legislative action plans gathering momentum in Congress, Baucus’ plan offers very important trade-offs that could help both countries (and the world) find not only an economic, but political, equilibrium. His proposals deserve careful study, and many elements of his proposed course of action hopefully will garner strong support in both Beijing and Washington, DC.

Absent a carefully calibrated and mutually acceptable plan for addressing the inequities in our bilateral trade relationship such as proposed by Baucus, we will likely be left with ill-considered policy changes or legislation by the end of this year that could seriously disrupt bilateral relations and trade. This would certainly have dire consequences for Washington State, which is the most trade dependent state in the U.S. and whose largest export market is China. But, a trade war would hurt Hawaii, too.

Hawaii is a global center for tourism, for example, and could play a pivotal role in the further development of China’s tourism industry and also be a magnet for increasingly wealthy Chinese globetrotters who already number in the tens of millions. By 2020, China will be the world’s most popular tourist destination with projections of 180 million visitors per year. With its rich experience in the tourism industry, Hawaii is uniquely positioned to benefit from China’s pressing need to upgrade its tourism infrastructure. Another pressing need for China that Hawaii can help meet is education and training. Hawaii offers a wide range of professional, vocational and executive training programs, exactly the huge gap that China desperately needs to fill. Hawaii is a world leader in sustainable tourism development; international business; teaching; health care and medical technology; government; science and technology; and agriculture and aquaculture. Beyond expertise, Hawaii offers a multicultural environment and a safe and healthy place to study. Hawaii can certainly build upon its comparative advantages including the historic and cultural ties to China to forge a deep and broad economic relationship with China that will be mutually beneficial. But, this can only happen if the two countries manage this relationship wisely.

However you slice it and whether we like it or not, the relationship between the U.S. and China is the most important for both countries and the rest of the world and will remain so for the balance of this century, at least. How both sides manage that relationship will have a lot to say about whether the 21st Century is recorded by future historians as one of peace and prosperity, or one of conflict and suffering.

###

Joseph Borich can be reached at the Washington State China Relations Council at +(206) 441-4419 or via email at mailto:borich@wscrc.org

June 8, 2006

Hawaii Act 88 - Refundable Production (Movie, Film and Television) Tax Credit to become effective on July 1, 2006

Click on the pictures below to view live video

Broken Trust Hawaii - By Federal Judge Samuel King and UH Law Professor Randy Roth

Click on the pictures below to view live video

May 22-24, 2006

Click on the pictures below to view live video

Pamela Young Interview Johnson Choi of CMC Consulting Group Inc and Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce on business and tourism training opportunities

Pamela Young Interview Yen Chun of CMC Consulting Group Inc on business and tourism training opportunities

http://www.thehawaiichannel.com/news/index.html

Mixplate - By Pamela Young - Special Segment on China

Monday - May 22nd; Tuesday - May 23rd and Wednesday - May 24, 2006 5:00pm (rebroadcast on the following mornings 5-7am)

Stories focus on building of business connections between Hawaii and China, especially in Guangdong Province; Olympics preparations; cultural connections to promote tourism and Sister Village relationship between Polynesian Culture Center and Yunnan Nationalities Village. Special footage from China with Special Guests interview such as Ms. Yen Chun of CMC Consulting Group Inc and Sun Yat-Sin Hawaii Foundation and Johnson Choi of the Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce.

May 16, 2006

Lessons Learned from a Serial CEO - A Discussion with John Dean, Former CEO of the Silicon Valley Bank (Corporate Governance, Integrity of CEOs, How to sort out staffs with honest opinions to CEOs, Employees as stakeholders and more) at the Cleghorn President's Room of the Pacific Club Sponsored by the Chaminade University of Honolulu

Click on the picture to view video/picture (3 videos)

April 22, 2006

Presented to Chinese Students and Scholars Association at University of Hawaii at the Jefferson Hall of the East West Center - "Hawaii Inc and You, My Choice - My Future"

When we speak to students, graduates and even our employees on career choice, we found the word “career” meant different things to different people.

For those entering college, those already in college and those that are graduating, the word “career” has different meaning and urgency.

It is obvious through proper counseling; student entering college has more choices than those receiving their degrees. In some occasion, we heard student got quite upset for studying the wrong field for a wide variety of reasons. I am hoping none of you found yourself in the wrong field when you are about to get your Master or Ph.D. degrees

I am aware that we have a number of foreign students here. Some may stay in the United States, others may go back home, in any events, most probably want to find out where the jobs are related to your field of study.

Two weeks ago I have listened to Dr. David Heenan, former dean of UH CBA, current trustee for the Campbell Estates and have written more than 5 books. His most recent book titled flight capital talk about both industries and human capital that are leaving the United States at an alarming rate. In the area of life science, United States is losing out to places like Singapore, India, Hong Kong, China and Ireland. In terms of industries, everyone probably is thinking about China because if you go to China today, you are seeing major technology and science parks run by Chinese who attended school in USA or Europe couple of decades ago got their Ph.D. and worked for major companies like Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol Meyers, Microsoft and so on and so forth are returning home to become project managers.

Is China the only place attracting the best and the smartest in the United States? The answer is a resounding no. The following is only one of the many examples. Across the the Atlantic Ocean, a small country call Ireland has become the choice for many big and small businesses and wealthy individuals. Dr. Heenan got invited to a party in New York attended by more than 100 people representing the best in science, technology and business. They have one thing in common. All of them had left Ireland decades ago. The organizer told everyone in the room, Ireland wants you. When they left Ireland, it was a sleepy unsophisticated place and economy was in chaos. Today Ireland business is booming and a desirable place for Technology and Science. Most recently a major drug company was considering building a new factory. The first choice was USA, but when they found out it only takes weeks for regulatory approval in Ireland compared to years in the United States. The choice for the Company was simple. They build the new plant in Ireland providing 1,000s of new job for the local economy.

The above clearly illustrate how the world has become so much smaller. With the right attitude and training, you have the choice to dictate your future and career.

What about Hawaii?

For technology related jobs, we rank 47 out of 50. There is nothing for anyone in the technology field to cheer about.

There are basically three (3) types of jobs available to Hawaii:

1) Military related job when United States is trying to beef up Hawaii’s military infrastructure spending billions each year in the areas of construction, hardware and software.
2) Tourism related job
3) Government job (Federal, State, City and County)

Military related job is probably the only well paid job that you can afford to raise a family in Hawaii.

Tourism related job tends to be lower paying job.

Working for the government at the young age, you will probably limit your future career opportunities as few private sector employers want to hire former government employees.

For many of you in this room, you may and you should look beyond Hawaii especially if you are bilingual, single or married without Children.

To improve the carrier opportunities for you, your children and the future of Hawaii, we must reconnect Hawaii with Asia. It has presented a tremendous challenge. Why do I say that? Since after the Asian financial crisis in 1997/98, practically all Hawaiian companies terminated their Asian operations. For multinational companies doing business in Hawaii, Hawaii is part of their North American operation and not Asia. After 911, with billions of Federal $ pouring in to build up the Hawaii military bases, 1,000s of rooms going into time sharing, many American afraid to travel abroad providing a big boost to our tourist industry, the continuation of selling off our luxury home and land to wealthy individuals around the world does create a boom to Hawaii economy, but for how long? It still does not change the fact that most of our brightest and smartest kids continue to leave Hawaii!

It is the first time since I came to Hawaii 33 years ago that Hawaii is so internally focus, Some of the west coast cities like SF, LA, San Diego and Seattle have become the driving force in Asian trade and businesses. As a percentage of Asian to their General population, they are small compare to Hawaii. But as a per capita of Asian American understanding of Asian business and culture, they are far ahead of us in almost every aspect of it.

Spend a little time to talk to people in your field, discount most of the rosy information you found in the newspaper about Hawaii and Asia as most are unsubstantiated. Talk to Americans that work outside Hawaii, they could provide you with much more accurate information if it comes from a reliable non governmental referral. In many cases, the first job could determine your future career. Take your time as it should be your choice and your future and not mine’s. Thank you.

April 26, 2006

Governor Linda Lingle Announces Hawaii's Partnership Agreement with Export-Import Bank to Grow Hawaii Export; in Partnership with Hawaii Small Business Administration, U. S. Dept of Commerce Honolulu, Hawaii Pacific District Export Council and DBEDT Recognized Four Hawaii Small Businesses for Their Export Success: FAT Law's Farm Inc, Noh Foods, Simple Green and Hawaii Pacific University.

Exim Bank President Video Presentation   Governor Linda Lingle Presentation

April 13, 2006

Presented to more than 130 business executives at the Metropolitan Rotary Club of Honolulu

Hawaii Inc 2006

I came from Hong Kong in 1973 attended University of Hawaii School of Travel Industry Management with a Major in Hotel & Restaurant management graduated with a BBA in 1977, went on to Chaminade University of Honolulu to obtain my MBA in 1978. 

I am currently working on multiple projects focusing on Asian businesses. On the non-profit side, I am the President of the Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce for the past 5 years. I am also the Executive VP and CFO for both CMC Consulting Group Inc and Makai Motion Pictures with offices in Honolulu, SF, HK and Shanghai. Our focus is Hong Kong and China. 

I would like to share some information about HK with you. Hong Kong is smaller than Kauai, around 400 square miles with a population of 7 million. Per capital income is US$25,000, second to Japan in Asia, home to the newest Walt Disney Theme Park. The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) established in 1972 with broad prosecution power kept Hong Kong a clean city to do business. Around 100,000 Americans are currently working and living in Hong Kong. About 100 Billion or 40% of direct investments into China is from or through Hong Kong. 23 million visitors to Hong Kong in 2005, 12 millions are from Mainland China. Increasingly more Companies from China are taking their Company public in the Hong Kong stock exchange. The upcoming Bank of China 6 billion IPO will be in Hong Kong. 2 wealthy individuals in Hong Kong have each committed to pick up 1 billion worth of share each. 

Hong Kong has one of the best Mass Transit, train and bus systems in the World, all funded by private sector $ and profitable, made US$1.1 billion in 2005. It will spend another US$3 billion to purchase the HK Government owned Kowloon-Canton Railway. The Hong Kong Convention center is about 6x the size of Hawaii, funded entirely by private sector $ and very profitable. It is quite different from how we operate in Hawaii. 

Our challenge is to reconnect Hawaii to Asia. Why do I say that? Since after the Asian financial crisis in 1997/98, practically all Hawaiian companies terminated their Asian operations. For multinational companies doing business in Hawaii, Hawaii is part of their North American operation and not Asia. After 911, with billions of Federal $ pouring in to build up the Hawaii military bases, 1,000s of rooms going into time sharing, many American afraid to travel abroad providing a big boost to our tourist industry, the continuation of selling off our luxury home and land to wealthy individuals around the world does create a boom to Hawaii economy, but for how long? It still does not change the fact that most of our brightest and smartest kids continue to leave Hawaii!  

It is the first time since I came to Hawaii 33 years ago that Hawaii is so internally focus, Some of the west coast cities like SF, LA, San Diego and Seattle have become the driving force in Asian trade and businesses. As a percentage of Asian to their General population, they are small compare to Hawaii. But as a per capita of Asian American understanding of Asian business and culture, they are far ahead of us in almost every aspect of it. 

If it is up to the business or the government to decide Hawaii’s destiny, I will much prefer the business leaders and executives in this room to take the lead! The choice is in our hands. My son who will be graduating next month called me from Oregon a few months ago, “Daddy, I want to come back to Hawaii, but I cannot, my offer in LA is 2x of that in Hawaii and I have an opportunity to work in Asia for even higher pay”? I told my son, does it best for your future and I miss you!

April 3, 2006

China Vice Premier Wu Yi lead a business delegation of over 100 members representing the Major Agriculture Sectors, Aerospace, Automobile, Electronics, Petroleum, Petro-chemical and Heavy Machinery, stopped by Hawaii for 2 days to meet with Hawaii Business Leaders and Government Representatives. A Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation was signed between Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle and Chairman Shao Qiwei of the China National Tourism Administration at a reception hosted by Governor Lingle at the Washington Place. view short video/picture clips

March 9, 2006

"Hong Kong and Hawaii : Countable Islands, Unlimited Opportunities"

Miss Jacqueline Ann Willis, JP - Hong Kong Commissioner for Economic and Trade Affairs

Click here to download Microsoft Power Point Presentation in "read only" file format  PDF Format

Opening remarks by Johnson Choi, President of the Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce (HKCHcc) to more than 160 business executives at the luncheon presentation by Jacqueline Ann Willis JP, Hong Kong Commissioner for Economic and Trade Affairs USA at the Mauna Kea Ballroom of the Hawaii Prince Hotel

Good afternoon Vice-Consul General of Japan, Honorable Koji Otsuka; Deputy Consul General of the Republic of Korea Honolulu, Honorable Dong Yong Kim; Governor George Ariyoshi, Bob Lees, President of the Pacific Basin Economic Council; Ray Jefferson, former deputy director of Hawaii DBEDT now with the Consulting Firm of McKinsey based in Singapore, ladies and gentlemen:

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our collaboration business partners who collectively make this event possible:

Representing HKSAR Government is Jacqueline Ann Willis, Commissioner for Economic and Trade Affairs USA; Ms Willis will be formally introduced later.

Representing the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in SF are Ms. Doris Cheung, Director and Betty Ho, Deputy Director.

Our Business Collaboration Partners are…

Mike Fitzgerald, President and CEO of Enterprise Honolulu
Lisa Maruyama, Executive Director of Pacific and Asian Affairs Council
Wendy Abe, President of Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce

We have some distinguished elected government officials here today:

Hawaii State Senator Gordon Trimble
Representing the Major’s Office – Danny Auyoung
Representing Councilman Charles Djou – Willes Lee
Representing House of Representative Corrine Ching – Bev Ho

You represent an important branch of our State and City government that can help guide the State of Hawaii to deal with positive trade issues benefiting us both short and long term.

Our Directors and Founding Directors are…..

Chuck Gee, Dean Emeritus of the University of Hawaii, School of Travel Industry Management, Dean Gee has served on tourism advisory committee of 3 United States Presidents and advisors to public and private sectors organizations on the local and national level in Asia, countries like China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Middle East

Ken Hiyashida, President of Kai Hawaii Inc, a full service structural engineering firm providing project management, structural design, forensic evaluation, special inspection, and construction management services.

Yen Chun who has spent more than ¼ century on China consultancy is the VP and COO of CMC Consulting Group with offices in Hawaii, Hong Kong and Shanghai China, also served as the Director & Vice President of Dr. Sun Yat-sen Hawaii Foundation, Director of Soong Ching Ling Foundation both in Beijing & Shanghai.

Garhart Walch is the President of Belizea Corporation, a multi-million real estates holding and development company in Belize.

Other Directors not here today are Manny Menendez who was the Director of Economic Development for the City and County of Honolulu and Brenda Foster, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai – the largest in Asia.

When I arrived in Hawaii in 1974, most businesses were operated by Hawaii based companies. Hawaii had diversified industry in Sugar, Pineapple, Macadamia Nuts, Kona coffee, Travel Related Industries, Military and Government Services. From late 1980s until around year 2000, Major Hawaii banks like Bank of Hawaii, Central Pacific Bank and City Banks had banking operations throughout Asia. For a period of almost 10 years, State of Hawaii had an economic development office in Hong Kong until mid 1990s. Hawaiian Electric had operations in Philippines and China. Aloha Airlines had direct flight to Taipei, Taiwan. Hawaii private sectors had an opportunity to take the business lead to Asia. But the 1998 Asian financial crisis had changed the business landscape. By early 2000, almost all Hawaiian companies sold off or abandon their Asian operations.

Today, almost all Hawaiian businesses are control by mainland multi-national companies as part of their United States operation. Asia in general is handled by their Asian division headquarters in Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore with branch operations in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. This form of corporate set up has excluded Hawaii from their overall Asian corporate strategic plan.

Today, our once diversified economic engine is in the hand of 3 public and private sectors employers, Travel related businesses, Military Operations and Government (Federal, State and City). If you sit back and analysis the situation, you will see Hawaii economic engine is internally focus.

Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce was formed 5 years ago after discussion with the Hong Kong Government representative immediately followed then Secretary of Hong Kong, Miss Anson Chan visit to Hawaii on the frustration to identify an organization, that is 100% focus on business with the desire, vision and courage to by-pass red tapes and political obstacles to promote bilateral trade between Hawaii, mainland USA, Hong Kong and China. The conclusion was to start fresh to find a small cluster of knowledgeable executives to carry out the dreams and mission. Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce was born, with hard work; we have developed the reputation of “Getting Things Done with Tangible and Measurable Results with no government subsidies.

Please go to our website for complete information and listing.

For a small State like Hawaii, Hong Kong is both an ideal partner and an ideal test market for Hawaiian Companies to enter the China market? Why do I say that? Hong Kong has 7 million consumers, 5 times the population of Hawaii with an average income of US$23,000. 23 million visitors, 3 times the number of visitors to Hawaii visited HK in 2005! Will you feel more comfortable to work with a partner that speak your language, subscribe to very similar legal system (the British Common Law) and with China experiences for more than 30 years? Your partner in Hong Kong has made all the mistakes, learn from the mistakes, know the market and is now very successful. So successful that more than 40% of the direct investment into China is from or through Hong Kong. Many Hawaii Companies took multiple trips to China to seek out new projects, in the end; they found out the projects are funded by money from Hong Kong. Why take the long route? Why not follow the money, right in Hong Kong!

On March 5th, Sunday, China Premier Wen Jiabao said Hong Kong will maintain its position as China's international center of finance and trade after Beijing referred to the city's development in its five- year plan for the first time in 53 years. Beijing will support Hong Kong's efforts in developing finance, shipping, trade and tourism, while cooperating with it on infrastructure, resources and environmental protection.

"We will fully support the chief executives in Hong Kong and Macau to implement their policies," China Premier Wen Jiabao said.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang said the mention of Hong Kong in a five-year plan for the first time is encouraging. "We will try to develop Hong Kong's international financial and RMB services, deepen the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, and expand the individual travel scheme. Hong Kong tops the rankings of investors in China. In January 2006, it invested nearly US$1.3 billion there, according to latest Ministry of Commerce statistics. More mainland companies came to Hong Kong to raise funds in the stock market since a ban on domestic share sales came into effect last May. Thirty seven mainland companies listed in Hong Kong last year - over half the number of new listings. Hong Kong is also trying to be the offshore RMB center for deposits and loans.

Relationship or “Guanxi” is an important part of Asian Culture. The Guanxi may help you open doors, but no longer a guarantee to cement a business relationship on “Guanxi” alone. Meeting with Government Officials, Photo Opps and Memorandum of Understanding for news media consumption give you absolutely no assurance on business relationship. I am quoting Mr. Siva Yam, President of the US-China Chamber of Commerce who so well put it, “Public and private sector consultants say they can help you build relationships in China, but the reality is if you walk into China with $100 million in cash, you’ll have the relationship overnight”.

How many of us have $100 million of small change to create that overnight relationship? It is how Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, our partners in this room, Hong Kong Trade Development Council, HKETO in SF, United States Department of Commerce and American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing are important ingredients of your China strategy to increase your potential for successes without requiring you to spend 10s of thousands of dollar, and in most cases going around circles resulting in disappointments and frustrations!

One very important role our Chamber of Commerce has been playing as an organization is to promote understanding between the People of United States and our Asian counter parts in Hong Kong and China. When LESS than 25% of our Citizen carry a valid United States Passport, including our elected Officials, one should not be difficult to understand why few Americans know and understand what Asia is all about. Their information from Asia often comes from News Media when bad news increased viewer ship and rating and sell more newspaper and that is not necessary the correct image of Asia, Hong Kong and China.

Hawaii has high concentration of Asian Americans often promoted by policy makers as the reason why Hawaii is an expert in Asian affairs and businesses. When look more closely, one soon discover that few Asian American stayed connected or remain in contact with their home country after 1st or 2nd generation. To develop a business relationship, companies should have some basic understanding of the Host culture, adequate preparation, advance information on regulatory requirements and financial commitments. We are hoping to be here to bridge the gap and provide you with useful hand on information helping you to move forward one step at a time.

An institution, an organization, a Chamber of Commerce cannot function without good and knowledgeable management team. They are the people that run the day to day operation. I am fortunate and bless with the support from many of you in the room as well as my Officers and Directors that make my daily challenging work very rewarding.

It may be time for Hawaii to take the paradigm shift to approach the China market differently. The result may surprise you.

Next year same time, when we invite you back to have lunch with us again, may be you will buy us lunch to share your success story.

Lunch is being served, go ahead, enjoy your lunch, formal program will begin at around 12:45pm.

February 24, 2006

  "From Aloha to China Guanxi" -  MIKE ROWSE, Director General - Invest Hong Kong, HKSAR Government. It was a completely sold out event well attended by more than 180 business executives at the Ala Moana Hotel, Honolulu Hawaii - Microsoft Power Point Presentation - download "read only" file

February 24, 2006

Opening remarks by Johnson Choi, President of the Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce (HKCHcc) to more than 180 business executive at the luncheon presentation by Mike Rowse, Director General of Invest Hong Kong, HKSAR Government at the Ala Moana Hotel

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen:

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our collaboration business partners who collectively make this event possible:

Representing Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in SF is Yue Mei Chow, Senior Manager & Lawrence Tang, Head of Investment Promotion.

Representing Invest Hong Kong is Mike Rowse, Director General and Angela Ko, Manager – Mike is our keynote speaker today and will be properly introduced after lunch

Congressman Ed Case, Our Key Note speaker at our last month’s annual membership meeting sent his congratulatory note.

Hawaii House of Representative Corinne Ching, together with 10 other Representative sent us congratulatory note.

Mayor of Honolulu, Mufi Hannemann has proclaimed February 24, 2006 as “Aloha to China Guanxi Day” to recognize Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce and our distinguished local partners for this event.

Honolulu City Councilman Rod Tam together with all 8 other councilman have sent us congratulatory note.

They are….

Mike Fitzgerald, President and CEO of Enterprise Honolulu
Lisa Maruyama, Executive Director of Pacific and Asian Affairs Council
Lisa Gibson, President and CEO of Hawaii Science and Technology Council
Phil Bossert, President and CEO of Hawaii Technology Development Corporation

You can find their printed messages inside our program.

We have some distinguished elected government officials here today:

From our Hawaii State Senate:
Senator Will Espero
Senator Clarence Nishihara
Representing Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland, Cici Fong
Representing Senator Gordon Trimble, Chief of Staff Kristine Sue-Ako

From our Hawaii State House of Representatives:
Representative Jerry Chang
Representative Corrine Ching
(Councilman Rod Tam?)

You represent an important branch of our State government that can help guide the State of Hawaii to deal with positive trade issues benefiting us both short and long term.

Our Directors and Founding Directors are…..

Chuck Gee, Dean Emeritus of the University of Hawaii, School of Travel Industry Management, Dean Gee has served on tourism advisory committee of 3 United States Presidents and advisors to public and private sectors organizations on the local and national level in Asia, countries like China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Middle East. Dean Gee is also my teacher, my mentor both in school, in business and in life.

Brenda Foster is the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, the largest in Asia. She was the Executive Administrator for former Governor Ben Cayetano in charge of international affair for eight years.

Yen Chun who has spent more than ¼ century on China consultancy also served as the Director & Vice President of Dr. Sun Yat-sen Hawaii Foundation, Director of Soong Ching Ling Foundation both in Beijing & Shanghai.

Garhart Walch is the President of Belizea Corporation, a multi-million real estates holding and development company in Belize.

Other Directors not here today are Manny Menendez who was the Director of Economic Development for the City and County of Honolulu and Ken Hiyashida, President of Kai Hawaii Engineering.

Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce was formed 5 years ago after discussion with the Hong Kong Government representative immediately followed then Secretary of Hong Kong, Miss Anson Chan visit to Hawaii on the frustration to identify an organization that is 100% focus on business with the desire, vision and courage to by-pass red tapes and political obstacles to promote bilateral trade between Hawaii, mainland USA, Hong Kong and China. The conclusion was to start fresh to find a small cluster of knowledgeable executives to carry out the dreams and mission. Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce was born, with hard work; we have developed the reputation of “Getting Things Done with Tangible and Measurable Results” in 5 short years with absolutely no government funding or subsidies.

Please go to our website for complete information and listing. Our website registered an average of 530 hits per day.

For a small State like Hawaii, Hong Kong is the ideal partner to enter the China market? Why do I say that? Will you feel more comfortable to work with a partner that speak your language, subscribe to very similar legal system (the British Common Law) and with China experiences for more than 30 years? Your partner in Hong Kong has made all the mistakes, learn from the mistakes, know the market and is now very successful. So successful that more than 40% of the direct investment into China is through Hong Kong. Many Hawaii Companies took multiple trips to China to seek out new projects, in the end; they found out the projects are funded by money from Hong Kong. Why take the long route? Why not follow the money, right in Hong Kong!

I am quoting Mr. Siva Yam, President of the US-China Chamber of Commerce who so well put it, “Public and private sector consultants say they can help you build relationships in China, but the reality is if you walk into China with $100 million in cash, you’ll have the relationship overnight”.

How many of us have $100 million of small change to create that overnight relationship? It is how Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, our partners in this room, Hong Kong Trade Development Council, HKETO in SF, United States Department of Commerce and American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing are important ingredients of your China strategy to increase your potential for successes without requiring you to spend 10s of thousands of dollar, and in most cases going around circles resulting in disappointments and frustrations! The best part is you can go there on your own by working through us with some advance planning and preparation.

One very important role our Chamber of Commerce has been playing as an organization, for us and all of our Directors and Officers that has been doing it on our own for many years is to promote the understanding between the People of United States and our Asian counter parts in Hong Kong and China. When LESS than 25% of our Citizen carry a valid United States Passport, including our elected Officials, one should not be difficult to understand why few Americans know and understand what Asia is all about. Their information about Asia primary comes from News Media when bad news increased viewer ship and rating and sell more newspaper and that is not necessary the correct image of Asia.

Hawaii has high concentration of Asian Americans, but few stay connected or remain in contact with their home country after the 1st or 2nd generation. Without some basic understanding of the Host culture, adequate preparation, advance information on regulatory requirements and financial commitments, when I talk about financial commitment, I am not referring taking an annual trade mission to Hong Kong and China – one can go back to Hong Kong and China each year and not expect any tangible result. We are hoping to be here to bridge the gap and provide you with useful hand on information helping you to move forward one step at a time.

An institution, an organization, a Chamber of Commerce cannot function without good and knowledgeable management team. They are the people that run the day to day operation. I am fortunate and bless with the support from many of you in the room as well as my Officers and Directors that make my daily challenging work very rewarding.

It may be time for Hawaii to take the paradigm shift to approach the China market differently. The result may surprise you.

Next year same time, when we invite you back to have lunch with us again, may be you will buy us lunch to share your success story.

I know I am the one that stand between you and your lunch.

Go ahead, enjoy your lunch, formal program will begin at around 12:30pm.

Thank you.
Johnson W. K. Choi

April 16, 2005

on May 1, 2005   Direct Link  PDF Format

Hawaii Inc - It is important how you present yourselves and how prepared you are to land your first job. It is equally important that where you land your first job could determine your future and your future career path! When I say “where”, I meant from the prospective of taking a world view!

What does Hawaii meant to you?

For students attending the University here which I once was as a foreign student, this is a place for higher education.

For many of us Hawaii is our home, the place we work, live and may be to raise our family.

If the world begins and ends in Hawaii with no other choices, may be everything will be fine and happy with what we got. The reality is the world does not begin and ends in Hawaii. With less than 25% of the American, including our elected Officials on both Federal and State levels carry a valid USA passport. 75% of the people live in Hawaii, the world may begin and ends here.

Since 75% of the people do not travel outside of the United States. Many in politics and policy makers would like you to believe that since 70% of our Population in Hawaii has Asian blood. We automatically know and understand Asia and our tie with Asia is automatic. Is it really? I asked my Asian clients frequently on their knowledge of their country of origins, most of the 2nd or 3rd generation Chinese and Japanese live in Hawaii, majority of them think they know or thought they have relatives back home, but were not in touch with them for decades and most of them do not even know where they are. Therefore our ties with Asia may look distinctive on the surface yield little substance. As a matter of fact, more Asian American in Hawaii knew more about Las Vegas than their original home countries.

I have spent my entire adult life in Hawaii after completing my high school at Rosaryhill in Hong Kong. During the last 25 years, my business allows me to travel extensively to Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Mainland USA and Canada. I have witness many cities in Asia progress with time, many by leaps and bounds, Hawaii and its citizenship, especially our children are continued to be handicapped for the limited opportunities here.

Since my arrival in Hawaii in 1973, I have seen Hawaii gradually shift from businesses controlled by the Big five (Amfac, Theo H Davies, Alexander and Baldwin, Castle & Cooke, C Brewers) now taken over by many mainland business institutions like Macy, Costco, Walmart, Kmart, Home Depot, Office Depot and the list goes on.

Back in 1973, we have a little more diverse economic base with Sugar, Pineapple, Tourism, Federal & State Government and Military. Today, we have two categories of employers. They are the tourism related industries in one category, State, City & County Government and Federal which includes military in the second category. The Federal and State government are our biggest employers.

Between 1990 and 2002, we had a big exodus of Hawaii residents, majority left Hawaii for Mainland USA, and a number of them went to Asia and found opportunities there, over 100,000 according to statistics, representing some of the smartest and brightest. We have commonly referred it to the brain drain of Hawaii in the 90s.

What is Hawaii today? What are the opportunities for many of you in this room here?

Let us examine a few realities we must face.

Politics – Except for our largest business sector, the tourism related industries that has the money to do effective lobbying, most of the legislations come out year after year continue to be anti-businesses, support by Unions and special interest groups. Hawaii is currently ranked 5th with the highest tax burden in the United States. If and when we add another 1% to our General Excise Tax to pay for the proposed Mass Transit, Hawaii government will probably move Hawaii up the rank to 2nd or 3rd place.

Transportation – More than 90% of our goods are transported by ships or by air, under current law like the Jones Act that limits foreign ships to operate between USA ports costing us more than 100% higher in freight charges to ship goods to Hawaii.

Lack of businesses taking the lead – When we work with businesses in USA and Asia, it is common for leading businesses like major banks (i.e. Bank of America, Hong Kong Bank), Airlines (i.e. Cathay Pacific, United Airlines, Dragon Airs and etc), Technology Companies (i.e. Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco and etc) and Logistic Companies (i.e. Federal Express, UPS and etc) taking the lead. We have not one single Hawaii business wanting to or able financially to take any business lead or take any business initiative outside of the State of Hawaii. The lack of major businesses in Hawaii also directly affecting the ability of all Chamber of Commerce operations in Hawaii, limit it mostly to local business networking or cultural related events (i.e. Cherry Blossom Festival, Miss Chinatown, Narcissus Queen and etc). Let me give you an example, the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii recently asked all affiliated Chamber of Commerce to lobby for Workman Compensation reforms. The same issue has come up year after year for more than 10 years. The problem is member of the Chamber of Commerce continues their support by sending campaign contribution to the same anti-business legislators at each election helping to re-elect them year after year. If you are to sit back and think about it, will you hire a known crook in your bank to handle bank’s money? After you hire the crook, we spent money to hire a security guard to watch the crook. This is what the business community been doing all these years making Hawaii one of the top anti-business State in the nation to allow all of us in business to have something to complaint about it. If you have not already noticed, Hawaii has the lowest voters turn out in the nation. In other words, almost 45% of the people in our room is very happy with what is happening in Hawaii or willing to let less than 30% of the eligible voters in Hawaii to determine Hawaii’s future that affects our life.

Companies wanting to export are confused. When we discuss with the major exporters of Hawaii goods & services on opportunities in Asia, most of them asked us “Are there really business opportunities in Asia”? We were dump founded when they asked us the question. So we follow up and asked them to qualify their statements. Most of them told us, the State has been sending them 35 – 50 business delegations visiting their stores or factories every year for more than 10 – 15 years. In the earlier years, they were excited to produce high quality presentation with nice gift packages to the delegates after each of their visits. As time goes by, all participating companies found out almost all business delegates from Asia just want to plan a business agenda to justify their Hawaii visit with no intension of doing any business transaction.

The “Hawaii” brand according to our market research in Asia reinforced by our regular dealings with clients in Hong Kong, Japan, China and Taiwan. What does the word “Hawaii” meant to them (i.e. New York for Financial Center, Milan for High Fashion and etc)? The images of Tourism, Sun, Sea, Surf, Beautiful Weather, Hula Girl almost immediately come to mind. It is one of the top 5 desired travel destinations in the World. Hawaii need to preserve its fragile environment, the Aloha spirit we experienced in the 70s and 80s seems to be slowly disappearing. Service industry job tends to pay a lower wages are having difficulties hiring and retaining good employees. It is a challenge for many of you in this room looking for a job to earn enough to provide for a quality life for you and your family.

For those that have almost everything, Hawaii Inc will continue to attract the rich and We have friends that are actors and actresses from Asia. They love Hawaii and they could enjoy the beaches and doing leisure shopping without worry about the News Media. Many have purchased multi-million vacation homes in Hawaii.

The Hawaii Inc for many of our college graduate, especially those attended Universities in the mainland, returning to Hawaii meant a reduction in pay of their very first job of up to 60%? It may also limit their future job prospects with very limited employers to choose from.

What can Hawaii Inc offer you in the next 10 years? I meant if you want to make it on your own (without rich parents giving you 70% down payment on your 1st new house, or allowing you to live with them, or a family own business that you are smart enough to take it over without ruining it.)? Washington DC and its policy makers have determined that China will challenge United States as a dominant Military and Economic power in the coming years. The unpopular of military bases in Asia has forced United States to scale back or close down operation there. Hawaii is a natural choice as one of the major staging ground for future military operations in Asia. With the help of our Senior Senator, Daniel Inouye’s help and if he is to remain healthy, we will expect billions of dollars continued to come to Hawaii in the foreseeable future. Therefore, if you have the skill and/or technical know how working in all phases of this military built up. You are expecting to get good high paying job, but you must be a USA citizen and many must passed security clearances!

Hawaii demand for real estates will continue to grow. Many of the demand are from wealthy individual from the mainland USA as well as from around the world. Job or business supporting real estates and real estates development will continue to prosper.

Working for the government, the largest employers in Hawaii is also a viable alternative. But if you are planning to work for the government, plan to work for them for life as most privately owned businesses do not want to hire former government employees.

For some of you with technical skills (i.e. Engineer, Software and Hardware) or professional skill (CPA, Attorney) and the ability to speak a 2nd language like Mandarin or Japanese. I will suggest to you as I have suggested to my two (2) Children who now live in Oregon to leave Hawaii to go to Mainland USA, if you are bilingual, go to Asia. You will increase your chances of success as opportunities there are plentiful. When you shall become successful, if the Hawaii employer wants you, they will pay you the mainland wages, in most cases 50 – 100% higher than the local hire.

I want to close out my remarks with a real story. In 1978, when I finished my MBA, I have worked for a very smart lady. Frances Goo may have known her. She was Miss Narcissus Queen 1955. Her husband who is an eye surgeon and with her are owners of many investment properties including an apartment hotel in Waikiki. I was the manager of her apartment hotel. She was the very person to encourage me to start my own business which I did in 1980 and promised to hire me back if I failed, it was 25 years ago. Two weeks before I left her for my own business in 1980, we talk extensively about Hawaii. She has asked me to remember, Hawaii will be a place for the rich, our smartest and brightest children will not call Hawaii home. What do you think?

Complete text in Microsoft Word or PDF format (click to download)

Johnson W. K. Choi, MBA, RFC.
President & Executive Director

September 3, 2004

BEHIND THE NEWS - Chasing Chinese influence - STEVEN KNIPP - South China Morning Post

For Complete story click here to download the entire article in Microsoft Word Format

With neither Secretary of State Colin Powell nor National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice putting in an appearance at this week's Republican national convention in New York, the Bush administration is taking pains to present the Republican Party as an inclusively happy home for diverse and assorted Americans of all colours, creeds and gender - and not just the party of affluent, middle-aged white men.  

Perhaps that's one reason why US President George W. Bush's Labour Secretary, Elaine Chao, was pushed into the limelight and up on to the podium to make a brief speech during the week-long political gala. When Ms Chao spoke on Wednesday, her topic - job-creation programmes - hardly mattered. More important was the fact that Ms Chao is both female and ethnic.  

Although Ms Chao is the first Chinese-American ever to hold a Cabinet post, many Chinese-Americans say that both Republicans and the Democrats take Chinese-American voters for granted. Such sceptics say the 51-year-old, Taiwan-born, Harvard MBA-holder Ms Chao actually wields more power through marriage to her influential husband, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, than in her role as labour secretary.........

Ms Au dismisses the idea that Chinese-Americans will ever vote en bloc. Principles and issues, she says, will be the deciding factors.  

In Honolulu, Hong Kong-born Johnson Choi agrees with Ms Au. As president and executive director of the Hong Kong Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, Mr Choi is actively involved in Chinese groups with origins in Taiwan, Hong Kong and the mainland.  

"Chinese-Americans don't vote as a bloc," Mr Choi says, "and they don't vote as a bloc for many reasons. Chinese from various countries in Asia tend to take a different stand in American politics. As a result, they can't combine to produce a bloc vote for either the Democratic or Republican parties. In fact, votes for Republican and Democratic parties tend to cancel each other out."  

Mr Choi says that in heavily Democratic Hawaii, Democrats get a slight edge with Chinese-American voters, "except for those who own businesses - they tend to vote Republican, no matter where they're from originally"............

"As a group," says Mr Choi, "Chinese-Americans have one of the lowest percentages of voter turnouts. And first-generation Chinese, especially those from mainland China, have the least tendency to vote. This is a fact known to most politicians."  

A July editorial in the US edition of the Sing Tao Daily reflects Mr Choi's thinking. Noting that Asian-Americans have not received the attention that other minority groups have from politicians, the paper says: "The Asian community also needs to have a self-evaluation in the area of electoral participation. Have we done our share? Politicians are aware of the low rate of Asian-American voter participation."......... 

The largest population areas of Chinese-Americans, with more than 100,000 residents each, include New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Honolulu - all heavily Democratic. But in recent years, there has been rapid growth in several states, including Texas, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois and Washington State, each with sizeable numbers of Republican voters.

OCA executive director Christine Chen says politicians have long ignored the political clout of Asian-Americans. But in a close election, their vote could spell the difference. 

"We are part of the American fabric," says Ms Chen, whose organisation includes Chinese and other Asian-Americans. "The issues that we are fighting for are some of the same issues other Americans are fighting for."

November 9, 2003

Getting it Right in Hong Kong - View event - RealOne Player Format

Remarks by United States Consul General James R. Keith (Hong Kong SAR)
to the Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.
September 23, 2003

Hong Kong has been through a tough and eventful year. The government's pursuit of new national security legislation evolved into one of its largest tests since the handover in 1997. SARS was an unwelcome surprise that continues to cast effects as people worry that it might resurface in the months ahead. Retail and service industries suffered, and, although related service industries have substantially revived, there was genuine and significant economic pain associated with the spring 2003 outbreak of this new disease.

News from the economic front has been largely bleak: deflation accelerated as of June 2003 stood at -3.1 percent; unemployment ticked down to 8.6 percent; the rise in negative equity mortgages in second quarter was 27 percent; the financial sector in Hong Kong has cut more than 5,700 jobs since March 2002; the list goes on. But the government has demonstrated initiative and seems determined to come to grips with the challenges associated with Hong Kong's changing circumstances. Very recent news in the property and retail sectors is encouraging. Some estimates for GDP growth for 2003 were revised upwards at the end of last month to 2.0 percent. The Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, increasing momentum behind the building of infrastructure that will connect the crowded and developed eastern with the less developed western portions of the Pearl River Delta, new measures to increase the flow of visitors from southern China, the development of a center for the study of infectious diseases with support from the international community, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control -- all of this and more adds up to an emerging sense of renewed vitality in Hong Kong. But the real change in outlook in Hong Kong goes back not just to fiscal, social, or trade policy steps undertaken by the government. It is not just a response in Hong Kong to the new leadership team taking charge in Beijing in the aftermath of the 10th National People's Congress last spring. And it is not just a reflection of emerging optimism about the revival of the U.S. economy.

July 1 a Watershed?

The real change in Hong Kong this summer arises directly from the remarkable expression of popular will that occurred on July 1. The people of Hong Kong spoke with unmistakable clarity in a show of the kind of unity of purpose that has been sorely lacking among their elected and appointed leaders. They spoke of their desire for more effective and more responsive government. They called for a course correction, a new direction calculated on the basis of the best interests of the Hong Kong people, interests that they wanted to have a hand in defining. And they spoke in such large numbers, with such patience, fortitude, wisdom, and maturity that their voices had a most telling and significant effect. It was a remarkable episode, one that will go down in the books as perhaps the single most important event in Hong Kong's short political history since the handover in 1997.

Before exploring further the implications for the future, let us clear away some of the misapprehensions associated with July 1 by examining what it was not. It was not the work of outsiders bent on undermining the sovereignty of the PRC over Hong Kong or the work of ideologues determined to oppose the Communist government in the PRC. The July 1 demonstration of popular will in Hong Kong was homegrown. It was an accurate reflection of widely held views among the middle class in Hong Kong, and it was directed at the government of Hong Kong, not the central authorities in Beijing. Moreover, it was not just a referendum on the property market or the government's fruitless efforts to stem the tide of unemployment and it was not a walk in the park during a local holiday by an essentially apolitical people.

Although one would have to conclude that the frustrations of six years of deflation and the uncertainty associated with economic restructuring in Hong Kong have to weigh heavily on the minds of the citizens of Hong Kong, the precipitating factors that brought the middle class out into the streets were primarily political, not economic. One doesn't have to dig too deeply to identify the single most important issue that brought people to demonstrate -- with civility and patience -- against their government. The government's handling of new national security legislation was the immediate focus of the demonstration, but most observers believe that the people's concerns went well beyond the specific provisions in the text of the government's proposed new law.

To put it as succinctly as possible, it appears that the Hong Kong people, frustrated by the government's handling of the new national security legislation, want political restructuring to go along with the revisions of the economic structure that are underway. Doctors and dentists and clerks and shopkeepers joined together on July 1 to complain that the system was broken. Dialogue between the government and the people shouldn't require a street protest by half a million people. There must be a better way if Hong Kong is to compete with other economies that are afforded the full participation of their citizens.

And in fact the Basic Law in Hong Kong points toward a better way in its Articles 45 and 68, which provide a mechanism for the ultimate goal: the election of legislature and the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage. It may take some time to build the institutions of democracy in Hong Kong, including stronger political parties, better mechanisms and greater resources to improve the quality of district council campaigns and local governance, and the emergence of leaders in political and social life who are trained to build public consensus and unity in the free-for-all that is life in democratic society. One has to recognize that Hong Kong has a way to go yet before these institutions are fully formed and mature. The sooner that Hong Kong begins to strengthen and expand these building blocks of democracy, the better for all concerned.

The Hong Kong Government Responds

This is a conclusion that is not lost on the Hong Kong government. The government was late in responding to the message of July 1. There was a moment in early July, after the demonstration but before the scheduled vote on new national security legislation, when it appeared that the government intended to press ahead with the vote beginning with what is known as a "second reading" on July 9. No one will know how badly that might have turned out because events led -- fortunately -- to the postponement of a vote on the bill.

To the government's credit, it has followed up that constructive decision with additional positive steps. The Chief Executive announced September 5 that the Hong Kong government had withdrawn national security legislation from formal consideration by the Legislative Council. We welcome this good news for the Hong Kong people. The Secretary for Security has made clear that dialogue with the Hong Kong people on the salient aspects of the controversial legislation will continue, that the government has neither ruled in nor out proceeding in the future on the basis of a "white bill," and that in any event the government will not seek to advance the new legislation without the people's support. From our perspective, this is as it should be: we welcome the government's intent to secure the community's approval before enacting new national security legislation.

The Mainland's Perspective

Article 23 of the Basic Law calls for Hong Kong to enact laws "on its own" to prohibit treason, secession, and the like. That phrase - "on its own" - is important, for it points to Hong Kong's greatest possible autonomy under the "one country, two systems" structure given to Hong Kong by the mainland for fifty years from 1997. There is every indication that the central authorities in Beijing continue to value highly Hong Kong's system. My view is that we can safely dismiss the more capricious rhetoric from PRC officials in the immediate aftermath of July 1: It is evident, both from July 1 and thereafter, that the people of Hong Kong were not intent on revolution (Cultural or otherwise). On the contrary, it is quite clear that the demonstrators went to exceptional lengths to focus their complaints precisely on the government in Hong Kong. As Martin Lee and others have written, the people of Hong Kong called for their government in Hong Kong to improve its performance, not to seek independence from the mainland. The middle class in Hong Kong can demand more effective and responsive government without radical surgery on the body politic. Indeed, since the July demonstrations, the central authorities have fully supported the Hong Kong government's conclusion that there should be no predetermined timetable for passage of the new national security law. It will be important for Beijing to be similarly supportive of the Hong Kong government's efforts to advance the Basic Law's provision for progress toward universal suffrage.

The U.S. Stake in Hong Kong Getting It Right

In plain language, the U.S. has an interest in the Hong Kong government first "getting it" and second "getting it right." Does the Hong Kong government get it? That is, has the people's expression of political views on July 1 fully registered with the authorities? I believe the actions of the Hong Kong government since July 1 indicate that it and the central authorities in Beijing do indeed understand the profound implications of what transpired on July 1. Only time will tell if the government "gets it right" in response to popular demands, but one very encouraging sign is the government's recognition that they need to ask the people whether the government is on the right track. The Chief Executive, the Secretary for Security, legislative members from the entire political spectrum, and other government officials are engaged in outreach and active listening, seeking to learn from and build upon the views and concerns of their citizens. The world will be watching to see whether Hong Kong's people and government are on the same page.

It is only natural that the Hong Kong government would need to make adjustments to its policies since 1997 given the new ground that is being cultivated in the SAR. This is virgin soil that requires original, creative thinking for the implementation of the "one country, two systems" formula. The challenge to the Hong Kong government, it should be recognized, is steep. Six years since 1997 is a very short time for a politically inexperienced leadership to "get it right." The question should not be whether they are always right -- how many governments are? -- but whether there are mechanisms in place to raise alarms when the government is headed in the wrong direction; and to allow for mistakes not only to be corrected in the present, but also to be avoided in the future.

The United States cares about the answers to the fundamental questions facing the Hong Kong government because we have long-standing ties and a deep and abiding friendship with the Hong Kong people; because we have political and economic interests invested in Hong Kong's success as a thriving free market economy and a vital civil society on the border with China; and because our security and law enforcement relationships provide mutual benefits to the American and Hong Kong people. The Hong Kong Policy Act, recognizing these interests, provides for unique policy treatment of the Hong Kong SAR to match its unique, international character. The Act requires the Administration to evaluate the degree to which Hong Kong is living up to its end of the bargain. Again, speaking as plainly as possible, it is up to Hong Kong to advocate for itself, to do its part in our bilateral relationship to sustain the special treatment that the United States provides under the terms of the Hong Kong Policy Act.

The Hong Kong people have earned praise for their remarkable demonstration of political will peacefully expressed on July 1. Everyone in Hong Kong should feel proud of this achievement, one that was based on and evidence of the core attributes that make Hong Kong a special place: its vibrant civil society, a thriving independent judiciary, profound and widespread respect for the rule of law, and strong fundamental freedoms, including the freedoms of assembly, speech, the press. But Hong Kong has discovered since 1997 that, like its competitors in the global marketplace, it cannot afford to rest on past achievements. The foundation for development of democracy in Hong Kong is very strong, but if the people are to participate fully, new mechanisms and institutions will be required.

Americans' Desire to Support the People of Hong Kong

The Hong Kong people should -- and, if July 1 is any indication, will -- decide their own future in Hong Kong. The United States stands ready to help in many different ways. We'll sustain our productive bilateral ties in areas ranging for common efforts in the war on terror to advancing trade liberalization in the Doha Round. We have experience in areas ranging from containing hospital infections to building stronger political parties that might be of use to individuals and institutions in Hong Kong. We offer our experience as a resource for the people of Hong Kong because we have high hopes for the Hong Kong SAR. We respect what the entrepreneurs and free traders in this historic port have achieved and want to see their spirit persevere for their own benefit, for the benefit of citizens pursuing economic reform on the mainland, and for the benefit of all of us who gain from Hong Kong's significant contributions to the global trading system.

Dangers of Dashed Expectations?

Observers have pointed with trepidation to the dangers of mass movements in China. Might the legacy of July 1 be a series of dashed expectations? Could the potential for chaos or instability lead the mainland to crush this budding move toward greater democratization? The question is being asked, and it deserves discussion. If the July 1 demonstration had been radical in intent and origin, perhaps people in Hong Kong might be more concerned. But the demonstrators sought not to go to the roots of Hong Kong's social and political structure. These were people who themselves have deep roots in Hong Kong and who want to see it prosper. What did the July demonstrators expect? Simply a better government, a more responsive government, and more of a voice in government decision-making. They sought answers to the years of political and economic questions that have been piling up since 1997. These are the demands of a people still invested in and thoroughly committed to the current system. We should praise the Hong Kong people not only for their carefully reasoned and heartfelt call for action on July 1, but also for the perseverance over the course of the last six years as they have continued to pay their mortgages and work hard at their jobs to get Hong Kong through this rough patch.

American investors or businessmen and women should not be concerned about the political stability of Hong Kong. On the contrary, the fact that Hong Kong's middle class spoke out on July 1 was a tonic for what ails the SAR. This was a healthy sign as Hong Kong sought -- and seeks -- to heal itself. My guess is that Hong Kong will come through this test stronger as a result. We Americans have had that experience. Adversity has made us more vigorous, more capable, and, yes, wiser. It has been said that we don't receive wisdom. We must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us. I believe the people of Hong Kong are well embarked on such a journey, and the American people wish them Godspeed.

October 20, 2003

"China Hawaii Chamber of Commerce" and "China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Hebei Sub-Council" agree to enhance the liaison and cooperation in the area of import and export, investment, business information and other commerce related activities for the benefit of the members of both organizations signed Memorandum of Mutual Cooperation in Honolulu Hawaii on Oct 20, 2003.

Governor Linda Lingle's Commendation (PDF File)

Cooperative Agreement (PDF File)

Sing Tao Newspaper Website Coverage (PDF File) Sing Tao Newspaper Print Version Coverage

World Journal Newspaper Print Version Coverage (PDF file)

Pacific Business Newspaper Coverage (PDF file)

Hawaii Chinese News Coverage (PDF file)

Speech by Johnson Choi, President & Executive Director of China Hawaii Chamber of Commerce 10/20/03

Chairman Wang (Chairman of CCPIT Hebei), President Meng (President of Hebei Jinguang Yuan Group), President Liu (President of Hebei Qianxibe Group), General Manager Chang (General Manager of Industry Co, Hebei Construction Investment Group), Director Liu, (Director for International Liaison & Business, WTC Shijiazhuang),  Director Liu, Director Ted Liu, 刘恩博 主任 (Director of Hawaii Department Business Economic Development & Tourism ), Director Manny Menendez, 孟士德主任 ( Director of the Office of Economic Development, City & County of Honolulu), President Tollefson (President of The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii), President Terrill Chock, 卓少华会长 (President of The Chinese Chamber of Commerce), President Vernon Ching, 陈惠昌 会长 (President of the U. S. China People Friendship Association - Honolulu Chapter), President Michael Zhang, 会长 (President of the China Club), Dean Emeritus Chuck Gee (Dean Emeritus of the School of Travel Industry Management, University of Hawaii at Manoa), Vice President Su (Vice President of the China Student and Scholar Association, University of Hawaii at Manoa), Honor Guest, Ladies and Gentleman. Aloha.

On behalf of China Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, I would like to extend our warm welcome to our friends from Hebei, China.  We appreciate your making a stop in Hawaii to strengthen our ties between our two organizations. 

We have a very distinguish group of business leaders in the room who are friends of China for many years. Many of them have business ties with China.  

It was back in 1985 when Yen Chun, a few other Chamber members, and I visited Hainan Island representing the City and County of Honolulu to sign our Sister City Agreement. Now as you all may know that Hainan is a province of China and has extended the Sister State Agreement with Hawaii. The State is planning a visit to Hainan in December. The seeds we helped planted are showing results. 

In 1991 China Hawaii Chamber of Commerce signed a collaboration business agreement with CCPIT Guangzhou. It resulted in more than 10 million of trade and business between Hawaii, California and China. 

Our Chamber of Commerce has more than 15 collaboration business partners in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Singapore, Hawaii, Mainland USA and Canada focusing on doing business and getting things done.  

Our collaboration business partners have continued to provide valuable information on the ground level to us helping us to navigate through the maze of information. We have continued to reach out to those that are willing to do business.  

Since our Chamber is 100% supported by our members and receive no funding from government. It enables us to focus on projects that make business sense benefiting our members.  

Hebei is located in the Jing-Jin-Ji (Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei) Economic Region (京津冀經濟圈)and the Bohai Bay Economic region (環渤海經濟圈).

It is a major producer of iron and steel.  In 2001, Hebei's output of iron and steel ranked the first and third in China. 

In 2001, Hebei's industrial output totaled Rmb376.7 billion or US$46 billion (+9.9%).   Heavy industry amounted to RMB 246.2 billion or US$30.02, i.e. 65% of the province’s total industrial output.

The North China Pharmaceutical Plant, locates in Shijiazhuang, is the major antibiotic producer in China with its output of penicillin ranking the highest in the world.

In coming years, Hebei will actively attract foreign funds and introduce advanced technology in all production sectors. The province aims to upgrade the overall productivity and product quality of its industrial enterprises and raise market competitiveness. Meanwhile, Hebei also targets to boost the tertiary sector such as finance, banking, information services and tourism.

Hebei is a popular tourist spot in Northern China with many historical sites such as the Chengde Summer Resort(承德避暑山莊), the Shanhaiguan Pass of the Great Wall(山海關), the Beidaihe(北戴河)Summer Resort, the Eastern Tombs and Western Tombs of the Qing Dynasty. Beidaihe is the Camp David of China and the place has hosted many important politburo meetings.

The agreement we are about to sign is only the first step on a long-term relationship. How the relation will grow depends on the efforts of our esteemed organizations, members and its leaders. We feel the agreement with Hebei is a good one and present excellent opportunities for Hawaii Companies.  

We are looking forward to report back to you in 12 months and share with you many successful stories. 

Thank you very much.

Johnson W. K. Choi, MBA, RFC.
President & Executive Director

May 6, 2003

It is amazing that Hawaii lawmakers would support raising nearly $100 million in new taxes...... - By Lowell Kalapa, Hawaii Tax Foundation Go to Hawaii Reporter for complete story

April 29, 2003

SARS Epidemic: Hong Kong is Open for Business.....Please enter here for complete story from Honolulu Advertiser or Go to Hawaii Reporter for complete story

April 27, 2003

Fear of SARS Hurting Hawaii Chinatown, Business and Hawaii's Tourism - "It's scary," said Johnson W. K. Choi, tax consultant and president of the Hong Kong China Hawai'i Chamber of Commerce. "A lot of people are very, very concerned." .....Please enter here for complete story from Honolulu Advertiser

March 25, 2003

"Hawaii Failed Business Image and Continue Missed Opportunity"  Johnson Choi, President and Executive Director of HKCHcc spoken to more than 100 students at the BYU Hawaii's Entrepreneur Lecture Series

Download complete speech in PDF format

March 4, 2003

Another Trade Opportunity Talk - Why Hawaii Business is Not......

Go to Hawaii Reporter for complete story

February 26, 2003

Hawaii's Travel Industry: Is There Another Japan - Sponsored by the Asia Business Network, The Plaza Club, PBEC, Hong Kong China Hawaii Chamber of Commerce and Korean Chamber of Commerce (HKCHcc)  

Speaker's Note in PDF format

December 21, 2002*

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  Tablet PC the star product at Comdex Fall 2002
  APEC Executive Director: 2002 a year of achievement

*Courtesy of HKTDC, HKCHcc collaboration partner

December 16, 2002

AmCham-Hong Kong's response to the consultation document on Article 23 in PDF format

December 13, 2002

DOE Olympic seminar held in Beijing December 5 - 6, 2003, go to the following link to obtain 18 pages of seminar notes in PDF format.

Download Seminar Notes in PDF Format 

November 14, 2002

"Opportunities in the Pacific Century - Are we Ready?" by Johnson W. K. Choi, MBA, RFC., President & Executive Director, Hong Kong China Hawaii Chamber of Commerce (HKCHcc) and Director, Treasurer & Past President of University of Hawaii, Travel Industry Management Alumni Association

The Meeting was held in HONG KONG Sponsored by the Hong Kong China Hawaii Chamber of Commerce (HKCHcc), Hong Kong UH-Travel Industry Management (TIM) Alumni Association, University of Hawaii Alumni Hong Kong, Hong Kong Ohana Club and Friends of Hong Kong

Invitation were being extended to HKCHcc members and collaboration partners in Hong Kong for business networking and for a formal/informal discussion on how various organizations could work together to promote trade/business/education/high-tech/film between Hong Kong, China, Hawaii and United States.

Download Speech in PDF Format

September 30, 2002

Guangdong / Hong Kong / Taiwan Economic Cooperation Forum

Distinguished speakers from Hong Kong and across the Straits address the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic Cooperation Forum organised jointly by the Trade Development Council and the Guangdong Sub-Council of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) in Hong Kong on 27 August 2002. The forum focuses on three themes: "Hong Kong - Global Trade Platform for Guangdong", "Hong Kong and Taiwan, New Economic and Investment Environment of Guangdong Upon WTO Accession", and "Taiwan Enterprises' Investment Directions in Guangdong and Hong Kong".

Opening
Welcome Remarks by Mr. Michael Sze, Executive Director, HKTDC (02:54)Picture Cantonese
Speech by Mr. Tung Chee-hwa, Chief Executive, HKSAR (14:11)Picture Cantonese
Speech by Mr. Lu Ruihua, Governor, The People's Government of Guangdong Province (35:38)Picture Cantonese
Speech by Mr. He Xiaowei, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Foreign Trade & Economic Cooperation (07:17)Picture Cantonese
Speech "'Three Links' - An Imperative Issue for Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation" by Mr. John H. Chang, Chairman, Chamber of Taiwan Businessmen in China (29:24)Picture Cantonese
Luncheon Speech
Keynote Speech by Mr. Antony Leung, Financial Secretary, HKSAR (18:04)PictureCantonese
Panel Discussions
Panel "Hong Kong - Global Trade Platform for Guangdong, Hong Kong and Taiwan"
Joint Effort by Guangdong and Hong Kong to Simplify Immigration and Customs Clearance Procedures for Taiwan Enterprises (13:14)PictureCantonese
 
Speaker: Mr. David Hwang, President, China Crown Footwear Inc.
Hong Kong - The International Logistics Centre of the Pearl River Delta Region (10:46)PictureCantonese
 
Speaker: Mr. Liu Shufeng, General Manager, Guangdong Shengyi Sci. Tech Co., Ltd.
Utilising Hong Kong's Financial Services to Capture Global Business Opportunities (09:48)PictureCantonese
 
Speaker: Mr. Andrew Kuo, Vice Chairman, Greater China Operating Committee and Senior Officer of Taiwan and Hong Kong, JPMorgan Chase Bank
Hong Kong's Advantages - The Key to Foster Joint Economic and Trade Development of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Taiwan (11:36)PictureCantonese
 
Speaker: Mr. Henry Tang, Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, HKSAR
Panel II¡G"New Economic and Investment Environment of Guangdong Upon WTO Accession"
Introduction of Guangdong Province's Investment Environment (16:24)PictureCantonese
 
Speaker: Mr. Liang Weifa, Director General, Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation of Guangdong Province
Future Development Plan of the Pearl River Delta (15:57)PictureCantonese
 
Speaker: Mr. Huang Weihong, Director, Guangdong Provincial Development Planning Commission
Progress of Speeding Up Customs Clearance in Guangdong (13:40)PictureCantonese
 
Speaker: Mr. Sun Songpu, Director General, Guangdong Sub-Customs Administration, Customs General Administration
Taiwan Enterprises' Demand for Financing in Guangdong and the Mainland's Opening of the Financial Sector to Hong Kong & Taiwan Investors (11:55)PictureCantonese
 
Speaker: Mr. Chiang En-hsieh, President & General Manager, Shenzhen Paragon Industries (China) Inc.
Effective Utilisation of Guangdong's Labour, Management and R & D Expertise (10:48)PictureCantonese
 
Speaker: Mr. Chan Wing-kee, Life Honorary President, Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce in China-Guangdong
Panel III¡G"Taiwan Enterprises' Investment Directions in Guangdong and Hong Kong"
How Taiwan Enterprises Capitalise on Guangdong's Investment Environment and Advantages (21:19)PictureCantonese
 
Speaker: Mr. Yeh Hong-dan, Chairman, Digital Industry Association of Dongguan and Chairman, Taiwan Businessmen's Dongguan School
Hong Kong and Guangdong as Business Partners for Taiwan's Technology Industry (08:31)Picture Cantonese
Speaker: Mr. C.D. Tam, CEO, Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks
Taiwan Enterprises' Development Prospect in Hong Kong in the Post-WTO Era (08:50)PictureCantonese
 
Speaker: Mr. Wang Lu-yen, Honorary Chairman, Taiwan Business Association (H.K.) Ltd. and President, Vigor International (Hong Kong) Ltd.
Economic Cooperation Between Guangdong and Taiwan and its Implication for Hong Kong (12:31)PictureCantonese
 
Speaker: Professor Feng Bangyan, Director, Research Institute of Hong Kong, Macao & Taiwan Economies, Jinan University
Guangdong/Hong Kong/Taiwan - Division and Complementarity of Economic Roles (14:20)PictureCantonese
 
Speaker: Professor Sung Yun-wing, Department Chairman, Department of Economics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Concluding Remarks by Mr. Christopher Cheng, Council Member, HKTDC (05:10)PictureCantonese

March 21, 2002

Approving and Authorizing the Establishment of a Sister-State Relationship between the State of Hawaii of the United States of America and the Municipality of Tianjin in the People Republic of China -  (House Bill 160) - Public Hearing Scheduled for March 21, 2002 - testified in support of the bill.

Download Detail of the Proposed House Bill 160 in PDF Format 

March 12, 2002

Is Hong Kong’s currency board system in trouble? S. Ghon Rhee, Pacific Business News, Friday, Feb 22, 2002  The recent collapse of Argentina's currency board system raises concerns about Hong Kong's ability to sustain its currency peg to the U.S. dollar. Hong Kong has been operating a currency board system that was established in 1983 to peg its currency at HK$7.78 to US$1...Complete Story (click here)

Tony Latter, Deputy Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority offers his prospective at the AmCham HK Luncheon on  March 12, 2002 "When things aren’t going too well, it’s natural to look for scapegoats. In the case of the Hong Kong economy, the pegged exchange rate certainly gets its fair share of that treatment. What is the basis for complaints about the peg, and how far are they justified?Download Presenter's Note in PDF Format

February 5, 2002

International-Cultural-Business-Center "ICBC" -  Geneva of Pacific (Senate Bill#2606) - Public Hearing Scheduled for Feb 12, 2002 for the creation of statewide entity from the private and public sectors to create a strategic economic development plan and to appropriate money for its development for a "International Cultural Business Center" to promote Hawaii as the "Geneva of Pacific".

A Business Model - How Hong Kong use the Private-Public Sectors Partnerships to benefit the community? Examples are the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center and the Cyberport Projects - By Johnson W. K. Choi, President and Executive Director, HKCHcc Download Presenter's Note in PDF Format

January 15, 2002

Luncheon Presentation -  Opportunities in Hong Kong for Hawaiian Companies in telecommunications, media/multimedia, IT, technology & biotechnology and tourism & entertainment - How China's accession to the WTO will further increase Hong Kong's attraction as investment destination, as well as a conduit to business opportunities in the Mainland?

Helen Peterson, Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion, Invest Hong Kong (based in HK) Download Presenter's Note in PDF Format

September 25, 2001

Seminar - "Doing Business in Hong Kong, China & Its Neighboring Economic Regions"

Alan Kojima, Vice President, American Custom Brokerage Co Inc - "Importing from Hong Kong & China" Download Presenter's Note in PDF Format

December 3 - 10, 2001 Business/Trade Match-Making Mission to Hong Kong & Southern China Survey Form Download Survey Form in PDF Format

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