Today, we remember those we lost.
We remember the workers in their offices. We remember the airline travelers who never made it to their destination. We remember the heroic first responders who ran toward danger to save others. We remember the families who continue to mourn their loved ones.
We remember, and we will never forget.
As one of over 300 World Trade Centers across the globe, it is our mission to bring growth and prosperity to businesses, communities, and neighborhoods in Greater Philadelphia and worldwide through global trade and investment.
We continue to carry out our mission every day, in their honor, and stand united for global peace and prosperity through trade. By removing the geographic borders we have created, we learn to respect and appreciate one another regardless of differences in race, religion, and nationality.
On August 19, 2020, the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia's (WTCGP) China Club held an informative online fireside chat with Craig Allen, President of the US-China Business Council, moderated by Gary Biehn, Chair of the International Group and China Business Group, White and Williams LLP and Board Chair of WTCGP. The discussion focused on navigating the evolving US-China commercial and trade relationship.
“The WTCGP is pleased to bring to our region leading thought leaders like Craig to share with our China Club Members and guests valuable insight during this historic time in our relationship with China,” said Linda Conlin, WTCGP President. As Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Development, I had the honor of working with and traveling to China with Craig and appreciate his distinguished 35-year career as a diplomat and public servant, including serving at the Embassy in Beijing, as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia, and Ambassador to Brunei.”
Craig began with a look at geo-political issues to better understand the current business and trade environment. China has recently flexed its might across Asia from border disputes with India in Kashmir to island building and threats in the South China Sea. This confrontation, along with the US-China trade dispute, has escalated nationalism in China and across the world. As a result, some US consumer product companies are feeling the pressure through the loss of customers in China.
While some US consumer goods companies are feeling exposed, Chinese people generally prefer to purchase products manufactured in the US and overseas as compared to domestically produced goods. As relations normalize, US consumer product manufacturers should continue to find China a good market.
While Chinese people prefer to purchase goods manufactured overseas, the Chinese government and State-owned enterprises continue to prefer purchasing goods and services from wholly owned foreign enterprises (WOFEs) and joint ventures (JVs), Craig informed the audience. Companies who wish to sell to these entities may find it advantageous to establish such ventures in China. If companies wish to pursue this option, China has recently enacted the Foreign Investment Law which elevates foreign ventures, including WOFEs and JVs to that of a domestic company. According to Craig, these entities can work anywhere in the country in almost any industry now.
China remains a country where US companies see potential. Many members of the US-China Business Council are doing well. Craig informed the audience that he is seeing an increase of companies doing business in China. While there has been a lot of rhetoric on both sides of the Pacific, China remains an important trading partner of the US, with trade being a bright spot in US-China relations currently.
The United States and China are committed to the Phase One deal. While export targets are ambitious and may be challenging to accomplish, Craig is seeing favorable results regarding IP protection, the Chinese court system and the opening of new industries to international companies including pharmaceuticals. While IP protection is becoming more substantial, Craig stressed that companies still need to safeguard their trade secrets.
Historically, US companies have looked to Hong Kong to safeguard their businesses’ IP protection and take legal recourse if necessary. Most companies will find that if they have issues with private companies in China or 3rd party countries, such as Japan or South Korea, pursuing arbitration in Hong Kong should not be a problem. However, if a company is working with the Chinese government or State-owned enterprises, they may want to look at Singapore for their arbitration. “If a company was able to do it in China before, they can do it in Hong Kong now, but if they couldn’t do it in China before, they can’t do it in Hong Kong now,” said Craig in reference to IP protection and arbitration.
WeChat is an app that is used in China for communication, payment and posting information and blogs online. It essentially combines WhatsApp, Apple Pay and Facebook into one app, and it is used by almost every Chinese person and business. The United States is poised to ban the app in less than 45 days if there is not a negotiated settlement. While China is not looking at retaliating for banning the app currently, Craig stressed that by banning the app, it will make conducting business harder in China for US companies and will give an advantage to Chinese and other international companies. When business people are again able to travel to China, WeChat is an essential tool for them to communicate with clients, pay for food and market their products and services.
Love a small business? Want to share the story of one that is surviving even in challenging times? Tell NBC10 Philadelphia and Telemundo 62! We've Partnered with them for the "In the Name of Love" campaign to support and promote small businesses.
Learn more about the campaign here.
USI Z(ONE) is a real-time, COVID-19 risk assessment tool, providing senior executives and human resource professionals critical visibility into the latest geographic COVID-19 risk assessment data for multiple counties throughout the U.S. to help organizations make more informed operational and workforce decisions. Watch a brief demonstration of this new platform given by USI’s CEO, Mike Sicard, and USI Chief Human Resources Officer, Kim Van Orman.
Click here to access USI Z(ONE).
On July 16, 2020 the Consul of Mexico in Philadelphia led a discussion the US - Mexico strategic trade partnership and the new business opportunities that USMCA will bring, featuring Undersecretary for Foreign Trade Luz Maria de la Mora as Speaker. You can download a copy of the presentation here and can view a recording of the presentation livestream with Q&A here.
After consultation with our partner, Temple University, we have jointly decided to postpone the 17th Annual Global Business Conference from October 22, 2020 to Thursday, March 25, 2021. The event will take place in the same location as previously scheduled, Temple University's Alter Hall.
This was not an easy decision to make. Although we have successfully transitioned to virtual programming, we understand that attendees value and prefer the interaction of a “live” event. We are delighted that the majority of our speakers have already confirmed for next year.
"Thriving with Change" is not only the title of our Conference, but the perfect way to summarize how the Greater Philadelphia business community has responded to the events of the past few months. In March of next year, our city, our nation, and the world should be in a better place, and hopefully with considerable good news and progress to report.
We look forward to seeing you March 25, 2021.
All Sponsors and attendees have been notified. Please contact Susan MacDonald if you have not already done so to discuss your options.
Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra will connect with audiences at home and around the world through HearNOW: An At-Home Gala on June 20, 2020, at 8 PM ET.
Hosted by Nézet-Séguin, the hour-long event will feature performances by The Philadelphia Orchestra, individual members of the Orchestra, and an all-star lineup of guest artists including Wynton Marsalis, Steve Martin, Nicola Benedetti, Lang Lang, and more.
Attendees will hear Valerie Coleman’s Seven O’Clock Shout, commissioned for musicians performing and recording during social distancing, and honoring frontline workers.
The At-Home Gala is free and accessible to all who wish to join us on this special evening. It is made possible by our community of supporters who believe in the power of live music to create hope and joy. Join our donor family by making a gift to The Philadelphia Orchestra in support of this concert!
Learn more here!
By Graziella DiNuzzo
Over the years, we’ve heard the horror stories of housing construction material falling apart or children’s toys manufactured with toxic chemicals. Don’t these products have standards?
Dr. Charles Dudley, a scientist responsible for procuring the paint, steel and oil for the Pennsylvania Railroad is credited for creating the original movement to ensure that raw materials adhere to specific material specifications.
In 1878 Dudley published a report entitled, “The Chemical Composition and Physical Properties of Steel Rails,” which concluded that a formula using mild steel produced a longer-lasting rail than hard steel. Since Dudley wielded purchasing power, his suppliers agreed to change a formula to meet his standards.
“A good specification needs both the knowledge of the product’s behavior during manufacture and knowledge of those who know its behavior while in service,” Dudley said in defending the need for open dialog between buyers and suppliers – and ultimately the formation of the International Association for Testing Materials (IATM).
In 1898, seventy members of the IATM met in Philadelphia to form the American section of the IATM, dedicated to “the development and unification of standard methods of testing; the examination of technically important properties of materials of construction and other materials of practical value, and also to the perfection of apparatus used for this purpose.”
Today ASTM International has 262 staff located around the globe who support the development and delivery of ASTM’s 12,500 voluntary, consensus standards, and related services.
Ms. Cendrowska explains, “ASTM International standards serve 90 industry sectors from petroleum, construction products and consumer products, to the environment, medical devices and new technologies such as additive manufacturing and unmanned aircraft systems (drones). Because standards are an effective way to transfer technology to the marketplace, support health and safety, underpin regulation and enable trade there’s a regular need for updated and new standards that are responsive.”
So how does it work?
ASTM has over 30,000 volunteer members from 150 countries who come together, and through science and engineering, work to define best performance in manufacturing and materials, products and processes, systems and services. Through technical committees, businesses, governments, and individuals collaborate openly to ensure the standards combine market relevance with the highest technical quality.
Discussions can become very technical in the committees and subcommittees responsible for drafting the standards. For example, in a paper published for the airline industry, ASTM laid out a standard, which of course aircraft experts understand, “F34.06 standards include the following…… A specification for phenolic raw materials for use in bearing cages (F2953) covers basic characteristics for porous laminated phenolic materials intended for use as instrument and thin-section ….”
The team also “provides training and technical assistance through virtual and on-site programs, and identifying and engaging public and private sector partners, both domestically and internationally, to collaborate with ASTM in supporting the uptake of US-based international standards, codes and regulatory practices.”
With the help of technology, ASTM International has been able to respond to market needs and requirements – even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like almost every organization around the globe, “we’ve moved to a full on-line process. Our members have embraced the tools and continue to develop the standards that industry and the public sector need and use. Related services such as proficiency testing and training have also moved to a virtual environment.”
The World Trade Organization endorses the use of international standards as defined by six principles: openness, transparency, impartiality and consensus, relevance, coherence, and development dimension, rather than by a standard’s label.
“This modern definition of international standards is included in the standards chapter of the US Mexico Canada Trade Agreement . ,The more inclusive definition of international standards replaces the limiting text that had been part of the NAFTA,. It offers industry more options when deciding which standards to use. The change is beneficial for trade and commerce and ASTM.” says Ms. Cendrowska.
ASTM International has also been able to encourage the use of its standards in niche markets where manufacturers, operators and owners are able to meet regulations, “for example unmanned aircraft systems (drones), where other standards don’t exist, regulators around the world, such as EASA, FAA, TCCA, IATA are calling out one set of standards - the ASTM standards. This consistency in cited standards is economical and efficient and helps designers, manufacturers, operators and regulators.”
Ms. Cendrowska reminds me that ASTM International standards are voluntary and aren’t mandatory unless cited in a law or called out in a contract, “Users of the ASTM mark or logo can opt to meet ASTM standards and self-represent that their products or services comply with specific ASTM standards. The users may self-confirm or independently confirm compliance with the standard. ASTM does not endorse, approve, sponsor or certify compliance - unless the user is a participant in ASTM’s certification program operated through its affiliate SEI.”
These four letters A S T M have been giving the world’s consumers peace of mind; you may want to look for them on your next product purchase.
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