The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (AmCham HK) has advocated for stronger U.S. engagement in the fast growing Asia Pacific region, highlighting that Hong Kong's strategic role should be recognized with a U.S. visa-free program for HKSAR Passport holders.
AmCham HK held Washington, D.C. Doorknock, with a team of eight business leaders, from June 12-15, 2017.
Led by Chairman Walter Dias, Vice Chairman Jack Lange, and President Tara Joseph, the purpose of the mission was to understand post-TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) trade priorities in Washington, raise awareness in Washington about the significant role of Hong Kong for U.S. businesses and advocate for a territorial tax system to increase U.S. competitiveness overseas.
"We understand that the current administration is focused on bilateral trade agreements and asked for more government to government engagement to ensure U.S. interests are represented in the Asia Pacific region," said Chairman Walter Dias. "Representatives from the congressional offices and the administration are also open to the idea of including Hong Kong in the Visa Waiver Program noting the great U.S.-HK relations at both government and citizens levels."
This year, AmCham HK co-hosted a symposium with the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Washington at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC to reflect on Hong Kong's past 20 years since the handover to mark the HKSAR's 20th anniversary.
U.S. Consul General to Hong Kong & Macau Kurt Tong delivered a keynote address at the symposium, describing the significance of Hong Kong in US-China relations.
"Hong Kong continues to be -- sometimes quietly, sometimes more visibly -- an essential element of the overall Asia-Pacific region writ large, including by serving as a positive example to the rest of the Chinese-speaking world about how much can be achieved by an open and fair society, which cherishes both economic freedom and freedom of expression. Hong Kong also continues to serve as a pivotal nexus for regional commercial activity. And it remains a vital economic bridge between China and the rest of the global economy," said Consul General Tong.
With close to 35 formal and informal meetings, the delegation met with the many U.S. administration officials, congressional offices as well as prominent think tank experts, international agencies and business associations, including Departments of State, Commerce, the Treasury, the Brookings Institute, Bower Group Asia, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Carrying on the success of this year's Doorknock in understanding the latest priorities and perspectives from Washington on trade, AmCham will continue dialogue and engagement to ensure the challenges and opportunities faced by American businesses based in Hong Kong are reflected to decision makers back home, particularly ahead of the APEC Summit in September 2017.