The end of 2017 is a time for celebrating AmCham China’s achievements over the past 12 months, as well as a time to reflect on how we will work to do even better in 2018. I am proud of the year’s professional first-rate work of the Board of Governors, the committees, the cooperation programs, the membership at large, and our staff.

The launch of this year’s Business Climate Survey (BCS) as well as our White Paper drew more interest form the press than ever before, followed up with over 20 meetings with targeted Chinese Government entities. We also shared the publications with think tanks and American government officials, both in Washington, DC and with visiting Congressional delegations.  Thanks to our strong membership response we will have another meaningful BCS in the coming year. In addition, we had “standing room only” for our recent 2018 White Paper planning meeting. This encourages me to see such enthusiastic member participation, and makes me confident that the upcoming White Paper will again be the “must read” for businesses and governments alike.

While we celebrated major events like our groundbreaking 女Economy Conference, fruitful trade missions to Shandong, Shaanxi, and Inner Mongolia, and successful Charity Ball, I especially want to highlight this year’s Appreciation Dinner. Thanking all of our Chinese and US Government counterparts for their support throughout the year, I want to express special gratitude to our two keynote speakers. NDRC Vice Chairman Ning Jizhe has become a good friend of the chamber, and provided us with a view into his humorous side as well as a thorough review of China’s economic progress. Ambassador Branstad, on the other hand, shared his to-the-point 11-minute message focused on how much better our bilateral economic relationship would be if based on fairness and reciprocal treatment.  

I would be remiss not also to highlight this year’s Annual General Meeting. We chose a casual setting where we could provide an excellent platform for networking, tasty Thanksgiving fare, and low ticket prices for our members. As is tradition, we introduced next year’s newly-elected Board of Governors and recognized a number of members who contributed significantly to AmCham China’s success this year. We introduced the first Chairman’s Award for Unsung Heroes, awarded to Jeff Layman this year for his considerable pro bono legal work. And among the other award winners, for the fourth year running we awarded the Pioneer Award to a major pathfinder in U.S.-China business over the years, Scott Kronick.

I’m excited about our continuing attention to the quality of member services, to our new initiatives, and to our policy work as the “voice of U.S. business in China”.  We will continue to be an important bridge between the two countries, playing a positive role to help maximize mutual benefits and minimize frictions in the bilateral economic relationship. We will also continue to help build trust through consistency and clarity, promote development through open investment, and stimulate innovation through global cooperation.

Here’s to the best year ever – 2018. 

William Zarit, Chairman, AmCham China