The US-Asia Institute, an educational non-profit, is organizing a delegation of Members of the U.S. Congress focused on the entertainment and media industry in August 2017. Pre-approved by the U.S. Department of State under the Mutual Education and Cultural Exchange Act, USAI has been organizing these delegations to China since 1985. US-Asia Institute Trustees Chris Fenton and Tom Ara (Partner, Greenberg Traurig) will facilitate and accompany the delegation, which is targeted for August 18 to August 26 with meetings in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou. 125 of these trips have been done since 1979.
“With the leaders of the U.S. and China so focused on cross-Pacific business interactions and the proper governance it moving forward, it’s completely opportune to host a Congressional delegation concentrated on the media and entertainment industry,” said Fenton, who noted the US-Asia Institute is working to limit this particular delegation to only a dozen House and Senate members.
“The past year of U.S./China business turbulence largely resulted from the CSRC preventing certain previously-assumed business practices, the letter from 16 House members to GAO pushing for a more scrutinous CFIUS review process, a Trump victory and the implementation of Peter Navarro as head of the National Trade Council, and China-side policy changes affecting offshoring of RMB. Because of this, both sides now have many questions,” said Fenton. “For a member of Congress to touch and feel China and its people is invaluable, always leading to constructive dialogue. The experience exchanges trepidation and misconception with understanding and compromise. For four decades the US-Asia Institute has lived by the let’s-get-everyone-talking-to-each-other approach, and it has always worked.”
“Producing content is a challenging endeavor needing large amounts of collaboration at all levels. Successful results rely on that extremely nuanced balance between art and commerce, especially when it involves two countries with very different ways of thinking.”
The schedule will include a balance of government, industry-focused meetings, and cultural stops. Among the anticipated meetings will be the American Embassy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National People’s Congress, and others. Industry-focused stops are currently being considered since requests are too numerous to fit in the schedule. However, some of the stops suggested from the Congressional office and the Foreign Ministry Office in China, have included a number of places, including: ground operations of each studio and of some large U.S. presences like Imax, CAA, WME/IMG, Nike as well as Wanda, Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu. In addition, other companies that they have interest in include Chinese government/regulatory entities such as the PBOC, CSRC, Ministry of Propaganda, SAPPRFT, CFG, Ministry of FFInance and State Intellectual Propery Office.
Several U.S. financial firms — Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Raine, Evolution and UBS — and Chinese firms (SMG and CMC) have also been pegged as possible, given the level of interest.
The US-Asia Institute is focused on educational goals of bringing together U.S. and Chinese leaders to share their points of view.