This is my 4th year running for the Board of Governors, and I very much appreciate the support all of you have given me over the past 3 years, two of which were in the capacity of Vice-Chairman. During that time I have strived to work on actionable items which benefit our broader membership. Two examples of that are related to working in China, specifically quietly lobbying the relevant authorities for Z visa holders to be able to access the E-Channel system entering and exiting China, which has saved us all countless hours avoiding the long queues at Beijing airport; the second is to age-related resident visa barriers, which is also related to qualification for “A” foreigner status. It’s a complicated formula to qualify, but we lobbied to encourage authorities to allow any foreigner legally employed and paying taxes to receive a work visa regardless of age, as is common in other countries. So far it appears that in practice they are working on that basis, so there are two areas where making a constructive effort made a difference to the broader membership.
More importantly, together with other board members and our Chairman Bill Zarit, I have been fully engaged in US-China trade relations in Washington and Beijing in order to resolve current challenges and create a stronger platform for increased commercial market access on a fair basis so that both parties can share mutual benefits in the future. This is of course an ongoing matter, and I and the rest of the BOG are committed to facilitating positive outcomes for the benefit of you, our members.
In terms of background, many of you know me from the time I ran the US-China Business Council in China during and after China’s accession to the WTO. Additionally, over the past 30 years I’ve had multiple commercial and government affairs leadership roles at global MNCs such as Bechtel, Oxy Petroleum, Cargill, SHV, Rockwell Automation and others. That includes working at several major JV’s which were in difficult operating environments like rural Shanxi and Liaoning.
Over the years I’ve dealt with China’s senior leadership as well as village chiefs in poor areas of rural China, and all levels in between. That hands-on experience has had a great influence on my approach to managing complex issues such as the relationship between the US and China, which is to proactively address commercial and regulatory matters by engaging in practical, respectful discussions with all stakeholders in order to find mutually acceptable positive outcomes for both our companies and governments.
I would be honored to continue serving all of you if elected to the BOG this year – we have many hurdles to overcome but be assured that I will tirelessly work on behalf of American business in China.
Patrick Powers has 30 years of experience in international commerce, government relations and trade policy, achieved in a career that has spanned Asia but focused primarily on China. He has lived and worked in China for more than 20 years, in addition to assignments in Singapore, Vietnam, and Taiwan.
He was appointed the Director of Government Affairs for Rockwell Automation China in early 2014. Mr. Powers began his career with Bechtel, Inc., and held successive management positions at Island Creek of China Coal Ltd (Occidental Petroleum), SSM Coal BV, SHV Holdings, Tait Asia Ltd. (Vietnam), Mundoro Mining, Cargill, and Applus+.
Mr. Powers held the position of Vice President for China Operations at the US-China Business Council, the primary organization dealing with Sino-American commercial matters from 1999 to 2006. In that role, he was responsible for business advocacy and advisory services on behalf of 250 American MNC’s operating in the PRC. Mr. Powers has extensive experience in government relations and communications in China and Asia as well as a background in business development and operations in natural resources, large scale retailing, consumer goods warehousing and distribution.
He has spoken frequently on China-related topics at international conferences and appeared on numerous occasions in media, including CCTV, CNN, CNBC, and Bloomberg, as well as contributing articles to The China Business Review.
He has a BA from San Diego State University and has pursued advanced language and professional development courses At UC Berkeley, National Taiwan Normal University, and Singapore Institute of Management. Mr. Powers is a fluent Mandarin speaker.