Sunday, June 25, 2017 This Week's Paper

Port official to meet new Fuzhou leaders

Port of Tacoma Commission President Connie Bacon will travel to China next month to promote an effort to boost trade between Tacoma and its sister city of Fuzhou. On April 7 the commission approved travel costs for Bacon to make the trip.

Bacon noted the commission has previously approved travel expenses for her to attend another conference on maritime trade. She decided to cancel attending that and use the money to go to Fuzhou Cross Straits Trade Fair, which takes place May 15-22.

The original focus of the event was on investment and trade between this region of China and Taiwan. Now in its 13th year, it has become a major international business forum, attracting more than 1 million visitors. It promotes trade and investment across all industries.

The Tacoma/Fuzhou Trade Project began in 2008 as a pilot project, with funding provided by the city and port. The first year, the funding paid the expenses of hosting a representative of Fuzhou in Tacoma and to have a representative of Tacoma in Fuzhou.

Since January 2010, World Trade Center Tacoma has been responsible for operating the program. Consultant Michael Fowler coordinates efforts to build business ties between Tacoma and the Chinese city.

World Trade Center Tacoma will have a booth at the trade show. Executive Director Anthony Hemstad said representatives of several Tacoma businesses have expressed interest in promoting their goods or services at the booth.

He spoke in favor of the port sending Bacon. “It is important to keep the momentum going.”

Bacon explained that Fuzhou has new leadership in its city government. “We can meet the new leaders and gauge their level of commitment,” she said. Bacon pointed out the importance in Asian business circles to interact with elected officials, noting Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland recently visited Fuzhou. Bacon said she hopes to be able to measure the sustainability of the trade project as a result of the business trip.