News About Our Sister City, Xiamen, China

WTCTB Monthly Newsletter: MARCH 2016 

On February 25, 2016, The World Trade Center Tampa Bay was pleased to host a presentation about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and this new trade treaty’s benefits for Tampa Bay businesses. The presenter was international business attorney Susan L. (Susie) Hoeller of the Hoeller Law Firm which has offices in Tampa Bay and NW Arkansas.  Attendees were World Trade Center Tampa Bay members and guests involved in exporting goods and services, international law, banking and marketing, and medical tourism. The TPP was signed on February 4, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. Twelve countries are signatories today: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam. These TPP countries currently produce 40% of global GDP and 26% of world trade.   Ms. Hoeller discussed the many benefits of TPP, including:
  • 18,000 tariff cuts for Made in America exports
  •  new “cumulation” rules of origin which will allow U.S. exporters to integrate supply chains in the TPP region
  • special provisions to help small and medium size U.S. businesses export
  • the lifting of restrictions and bans of the export of U.S. services like retail, communications, logistics, software and more    
  • science based food safety measures will replace other countries’ unfair barriers to the export of American agricultural products     
  • cutting edge rules to promote internet-based commerce, digital freedom and an open internet
  • a ban on “forced localization” – the discriminatory requirement that certain governments impose on U.S. businesses forcing them to place their servers and other facilities overseas in order to access those markets
  • new provisions to protect intellectual property creators and criminalize trade secret theft     
  • foreign state owned enterprises competing unfairly can be challenged by U.S. companies
  • strongest worker and environmental protections of any trade treaty
  • anti-corruption provisions
  • sustainable development and food security commitments
Ms. Hoeller also discussed some of the criticisms of the TPP by opponents including some of the current Presidential candidates in both parties. These criticisms include:
  • No anti-currency manipulation provisions
  • Predicted flood of more imports from the cheap labor countries
  • Consumers in countries with government bulk purchasing of drugs are concerned that these arrangements will be challenged by multi-national drug companies leading to higher prices
  • Concerns that TPP will expand multi-national companies power to challenge state owned enterprises and individual countries’ health and safety laws   
The participants discussed the significant geo-political and national defense aspects of the TPP, for example, the exclusion of China and Russia. Ms. Hoeller has concluded that the TPP will be very good for Tampa Bay area companies. She urged participants to contact their federal, state and local political representatives in support of TPP and noted that the mayors of both Tampa and St. Petersburg have publicly supported the treaty.  The time for TPP supporters to act is now because the Congressional ratification vote is expected later this spring.  



Tampa Bay International Town Hall at Port Tampa Bay

Friday, May 6, 2016  - The Tampa Bay Export Alliance (TBEA), a partnership  between the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and Pinellas County Economic Development, will host the 2016 Tampa Bay International Town Hall.  WTCTB will be present at the expo, so please stop by and visit our booth!

  Port Tampa Bay, Cruise Terminal Two, 651 Channelside Dr. Tampa, FL  33605

Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and program from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

WTCTB members use promo code WTCTB for $10 discount


  Notes From our Executive Director


Happy (Chinese) New Year!…here are some “thoughts” about the Year of the Monkey! (Please note that the WTCTB does not take responsibility for any actions you may take based upon the following description…haha.)

The Year of the Monkey is the time to shake things up and create change. Even the most ambitious plans can succeed. There will be more than enough action and opportunity to keep you busy. In Monkey year, it’s fine to just make it up as you go along.   Those born in Monkey years (1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016) are intelligent, witty, mercurial, and entertaining. They are wonderful to be around because they are also fun and creative. Monkeys embody strong leadership potential and, like their best friend the Dragon, won’t allow anyone to tell them what to do. The uninhibited Monkey rarely gets embarrassed by anything, and is free to express himself/herself fearlessly in all walks of life.


The government in Beijing will try to summon Monkey power this year as it decides how to handle the continuing debt restructure and demand issues within the Chinese economy.   In February I visited the City of Xiamen in Eastern China directly across from Taiwan. Xiamen (like many of the coastal cities) certainly does not yet appear to be suffering during this downturn in the economic cycle. It is a typical second-tier China port city with dozens of cranes adding to the skyline, a bustling container facility and new international airport terminal.  Due to its geographic location (close to Taiwan with temperate weather), Xiamen has received significant recent investment for business and tourism expansion projects. The growth is impressive and Xiamen is posed to continue to take advantage of its geographic location.

While in Xiamen, we visited several bio-tech research facilities (including international companies) and observed some interesting facts about the business environment. Although bio-tech research facilities tend to operate inexpensively compared to the clusters around Shanghai, the determining factor per comments from management for locating in Xiamen was the research organizations' ability to maintain privacy and avoid prying eyes of colleagues and competitors (and government). Maybe there is something to be said for keeping a low profile in the new Chinese economy.

I should also mention that Xiamen offers some unique culture and excellent natural scenery. I highly recommend a visit to Gu-lang-yu - an island community developed during the period when Xiamen was a foreign concession.  Be warned of sometimes crowded conditions and bring walking shoes... but overall a worthy excursion to see the preserved architecture (including three churches on this small island).  More examples of classic homes on the WTCTB website.   Please contact the WTC if you would like to know more about doing business or visits to China.  

Become a WTCTB member today!  Please access our website at the below link to download an application and read about our member benefits. There are membership levels available for both individuals and large corporations, as well as student and veterans memberships. 
For more information please contact Meredith Cernuda at  

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