Connecting Washington and China

The Story of The Washington State China Relations Council
  • Also available as: E-Book
  • Published: November 2005
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 252
  • Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9780595375103


Joseph J. Borich

President, Washington State China Relations Council

As a relatively junior Foreign Service Officer working on the State Department’s China Desk in 1978, I found myself in an ideal “fly-on-the- wall” situation from which to observe and peripherally contribute to the chain of events that would lead to the full normalization of relations between the U.S. and China on January 1, 1979.

By January 1980, I was in China helping to reopen the U.S. consulate general there after a 30-year hiatus. Although I did not imagine it at the time, I would spend much of the final 17 years of my Foreign Service career involved with China. During that time I encountered the Washington State China Relations Council – its executive directors, board members, member company representatives and delegates of various WSCRC-led missions – on a number of occasions. In the process my knowledge of and respect for the WSCRC and its mission grew with each passing year.

Perhaps it was destiny that the WSCRC’s executive director position should become vacant in 1997 at the same time that I retired from the Foreign Service. Whether by fate or coincidence I was ineluctably drawn to accept the Council’s offer of employment, an acceptance that years later I have found no reason to regret.

Washington is one of only a handful of states that have found compelling reasons to establish and support a China-centric nonprofit business association like the WSCRC, and the WSCRC remains the oldest and arguably best known of these. The foresight of the WSCRC’s founders tying together Washington state’s historical links to China with the suddenly unleashed but still not well understood new opportunities for business with China on a massive scale has been fully justified by history. Today Washington leads all states on a per capita basis in trade with China and is the only state to maintain a trade surplus with China. This is very important because no other state is nearly as dependent on foreign trade as Washington – nearly one job in three here is directly tied to international trade. The vision of the WSCRC’s founders in 1979 has withstood the test of time.

I congratulate Wendy Liu for writing Connecting Washington and China, published originally in 2005, and for updating it with new content. The Washington State China Relations Council has in more than a quarter century become an institution in the state of Washington and in the realm of post-normalization U.S.-China relations. As such, its story is certainly worth telling. But, this work also reflects an intensely personal voyage of discovery for Ms. Liu, with her own metamorphosis on her journey from China to the United States and from normalization through Tiananmen and beyond. That, too, is a story worth telling.

Seattle, November 2009

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