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Wire Insider: J. Norwell Coquillard

J. Norwell Coquillard is the Executive Director of the Washington State China Relations Council. Formerly, he was chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and has lived 18 years in China.

He joins us a Wire Insider to discuss the trade relationship between Washington state and China. This interview was filmed before the COVID-19 outbreak, yet the conditions outlined by Coquillard will be key considerations for policymakers as they attempt to rebuild the economy in Washington state.

My role is to promote better relations between Washington state and China. I’ll be looking for subnational action between China and Washington state. I was just in China with Lisa Brown, the Director of Commerce, and she’s reaching out to Chinese entities below the national level – provincial entities, city entities – to try to encourage investment in Washington state and there still is a lot of interest on the Chinese side in investment as well as making sure the trading channels are open despite the tariffs.

Washington is the most trade dependent state in the United States. It’s not just selling airplanes, cherries, or applies to China and other countries. It’s also our ports. Our ports our very important. A lot of product that comes from other states goes through Washington ports. We have a tremendous amount of people employed at airports, seaports, loading trains, ships etc. A huge amount of our economic activity is tied to those ports.”

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