On January 21st, I joined several hundred members of the Washington State China Relations Council (WSCRC) and their guests at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle for the 36th Annual Banquet Celebration.

The welcoming address was delivered by Michael Rawding and Kristi Heim who introduced speakers that included Hyeok Kim, Deputy Mayor of Seattle; Dow Constantine, King County Executive; Lebin Wu, Chairman of Chinese Academy of Sciences Holdings and Keynote Speaker Cheng Li, Director of the John L. Thornton China Center at The Brookings Institution. Also noteworthy, the Honorable Gary Locke, Former US Ambassador to China, presented the Sidney Award for Lifetime Achievement to Stanley H. Barer, Chairman Emeritus of Saltchuk Resources. Mr. Barer was one of four founding members of the WSCRC and is credited for negotiating the resumption of the shipping service between the People’s Republic of China and the US in 1979.

Since its founding in 1979, the Washington State China Relations Council has helped define the state’s relationship with China. A member-based, non-profit organization, the Council continues to function today as the leading organization developing bilateral understanding and economic activity between Washington State and China. The Council has worked to organize and support major events such as the successful Boao Forum for Asia in Seattle in 2014, numerous partnerships between Shenzhen and Seattle signed on Earth Day 2015 and the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Washington State in September 2015. The Council aims to foster constructive ties between Washington State and China through business, culture and education. The council’s more than 150 members include leading companies, city and state government, universities and non-profit organizations.

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