Tuesday, November 16, 1999

Local consultant, Chinese
client express optimism

By Susan Kreifels


Marty Plotnick, a local business consultant, and Jian Feng, a Chinese businessman who wants to invest in Hawaii, spent Sunday night talking about how Feng could do more business here while avoiding trade barriers.

Yesterday, they were both more optimistic about accomplishing that after the United States and China signed a breakthrough agreement that would remove trade barriers and clear the largest hurdle to China entering the World Trade Organization.

"His most positive concern was that it will open trade between the two countries, and the structural impediments will be either reduced or done away with," Plotnick said about his client, who arrived from Hebei province with other business, government and chamber of commerce officials.

"International standards will have to be met. Companies will feel freer to do business with us here," Plotnick said.

"I think this is great progress," said Feng, president and CEO of Contai Enterprise Group, a holding company in real estate development and property management. "I think China will benefit."

Members of the business community here agreed the historic signing between the two countries was good news for the islands.

"We really don't have a lot of export products China needs beyond agriculture," Plotnick said. "But we do have a tremendous group of service industries here -- the application of technology and investment, that knowledge of how to run hotels, land planning."

Ted Sturdivant publishes a Chinese-language edition of the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau's "Islands of Aloha Travel and Business Planner." Sturdivant, who is promoting Chinese tourism here, just returned from Beijing.

"It will hopefully open up more applicants for business visas" into the United States, Sturdivant said, and Chinese business people can stop in Hawaii on their way back from the mainland U.S.

Sturdivant said yesterday's agreement "loosens up and broadens opportunities. Like the Berlin Wall. We haven't knocked it (trade barriers) down yet, but there are a lot of pukas we can work into."

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