Hawaii Global Links Newsletter
High U.S. Government Official in Beijing Praises Hawaii
Tuesday, 06 May 2008

Dan Piccuta, the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, had high praise for DBEDT’s Beijing Office and Executive Director Bo Wu’s leadership in pushing for 

full application of the recent Approved Destination Status (ADS) agreement between China and the U.S.

Piccuta, who is the number two man after the ambassador, spoke on the subject of “U.S. – China Relations” at No. 1 Capitol District Building on March 6.  The event was organized by DBEDT’s Hawaii Global Links and the Pacific & Asian Affairs Council (PAAC).

Dan Piccuta addresses his audience at No. 1 Capitol
District Building.

Piccuta told an audience of approximately 50 persons that he was “thrilled” that Wu joined representatives from other states at a recent luncheon in Beijing to discuss the ADS situation.  The DCM felt that Hawaii is ideally poised to take advantage of the group leisure travel that will be permitted because many Chinese tourists will choose to visit the state.

“Hawaii is the benchmark for a global tropical travel destination,” he said.  “This state has a brand name that is known and emulated throughout the world.  Indeed, Hainan Island likes to call itself ‘the Hawaii of China.’”

Piccuta went on to note that in 2006, 320,000 Chinese visited the U.S., with 54,000, or 17%, coming to Hawaii.  One year later, 450,000 Chinese traveled to the states.  “Hawaii has many ties to China throughout its history.  Not every state can boast of having been the home of Dr. Sun Yat-sen!”

In fact, Piccuta believes so strongly in Hawaii, that he and his wife bought a home in Kona.  

Piccuta was also optimistic about future U.S. trade with China.  He pointed out that America is China’s largest customer, importing $300 billion last year, while the U.S. exported some $54 billion of goods to China.  And this number is expect to rise to $80 billion in 2008, and “China is more open now to outside investment than any time in its history,” he said.

Piccuta further noted that China has amassed $1.3 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, but it plans to invest some $200 billion to $300 billion of this overseas through its newly-formed China Investment Corporation. “They’ve hired smart investment advisors and we’re hoping that they run this like a state pension fund,” he said.

There are, also, significant challenges. Piccuta mentioned the recent concerns about safety—with toys and shrimp, for example.  And then there were the January snowstorms—the worst in China in 50 years--that exposed the nation’s fragile infrastructure and its inability to manage crises.  He also observed that “China is the largest violator of intellectual property rights in the world.  86% of fake products confiscated at our borders were made in China.”

In addition, there are political and human rights concerns.  However, Piccuta drew attention to improvements in the daily lives of the Chinese, and the freedoms they enjoy.

Responding to a question about the status of the Olympic Games, Piccuta said:

“The Chinese were the most important economic power for hundreds of years, but they feel they were held down over the past 200 years. The Olympics will show that they are back on the world stage.  We are entrusting our finest athletes to them.  I have no worries that the Games will be a great success.  Indeed, President Bush will be there—the first sitting American president to ever attend an Olympics.”

Piccuta ended his lecture on another positive note.  At Vice Premier Wu Yi’s farewell dinner, he told her: “When China succeeds, the U.S. succeeds and vice versa. The smile on her face was bigger than mine!”  

After the talk, Piccuta posed with DBEDT staffers
(from left to right) Cy Feng, Jamie Lum, Milton
Kwock, Dennis Ling and Eugene Tian. 


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 May 2008 )
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