City, Port launch pilot project to build Chinese trade

The City of Tacoma and the Port of Tacoma recently announced the launch of the Fuzhou Pilot Project. The 18-month project, jointly funded by the City and Port aims to expand trade, primarily exports to China and to attract foreign direct investment to the Tacoma-Pierce County region.
Fuzhou, a Chinese port city with a population of more than 6 million, is the capital city of Fujian Province. Tacoma, the largest city in South Puget Sound in Washington state, features one of North American’s largest container ports. Fuzhou and Tacoma have been Sister Cities since October 1994.
“Our two regions have shared numerous exchanges to expand and strengthen trade and cultural ties,” said Port of Tacoma Commissioner Connie Bacon. “China is now Tacoma’s largest trading partner by both volume and by dollar value, and Fuzhou is a key gateway to this market. As we continue to strengthen our relationship, both the people of Fuzhou and Tacoma will benefit for generations to come.”
Bacon emphasized that the Pilot Project is the result of the long-term vision of Yuan Rongxiang, Chief Executive of Fuzhou Municipality and Chairman of the Fuzhou people’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Li Hong, Director General of the Fuzhou Foreign Affairs Office and former City of Tacoma Councilmember Bill Evans. “We have benefitted from extraordinary leadership on both sides of the Pacific,” she said.
A Steering Committee made up of Port of Tacoma and City of Tacoma representatives selected Tim Wen as the project’s Contract Trade Representative based in Fuzhou and Michael Fowler as the Contract Project Consultant based in Tacoma. The City and Port will also host Fuzhou Trade Representative Guanghui “Arthur” Liu of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Fuzhou Municipal People’s Government.
On Fri., April 18, the Fuzhou Pilot Project will officially be launched at a breakfast event that is open to the public. The event will feature Yuan Rongxiang, Chief Executive of Fuzhou Municipality and Chairman of the Fuzhou People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and top City, Port and other local government officials. The event is jointly sponsored by the City and Port of Tacoma with the support of the World Trade Center-Tacoma.
The event begins at 9 a.m. at the Tacoma Club, 1201 Pacific Ave., #1601. Cost is $15 per person and includes continental breakfast. For reservations or more information, contact Mariam Anderson at (253) 396-1022 or
Tim Wen will be responsible for promoting trade and investment between Tacoma-Pierce County and Fuzhou. More specifically, this will include export/import matchmaking services, market intelligence, and inbound foreign direct investment (FDI). Wen has spent 12 years in China and is fluent in Chinese. He spent several years as Treasurer for the American Chamber of Commerce in South China and is experienced in import/export marketing and inbound foreign direct investment. He holds a masters degree in Business Administration with an Accounting and International Business concentration from Seattle University and a bachelor’s in Mathematics and Mechanics from Zhongshan University in Guangzhou, China.
Michael Fowler will be responsible for providing overall coordination of the project and supporting business transactions by soliciting, coordinating and tracking trade leads, as well as supporting the trade representatives. Fowler has extensive experience working as a trade consultant for U.S. business activities with Japanese and Chinese firms. He is fluent in Chinese and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Northwest International Trade Alliance. He is a former Senior Editor of Business Tokyo magazine and holds a masters degree in International Relations with a China and Japan Business/Economics emphasis from Sophia University in Tokyo and a bachelor’s in Chinese from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Guanghui “Arthur” Liu will participate in the promotion of trade and investment between Tacoma-Pierce County and Fuzhou on behalf of the Fuzhou Municipal People’s Government. Liu was involved in the negotiations for the establishment of Sister City relations between Fuzhou and Tacoma in 1993 and witnessed the signing ceremony in 1994. He also participated in negotiations leading to the set up of stores and factories by firms such as Wal-Mart, Metro and Daimler Chrysler. Liu has coordinated several groups from China to Europe and the Americas for attendance fairs and seminars. He holds a bachelors degree in International Politics from the Institute of International Relations in Beijing.