18th Annual U.S.-China Trade Conference
Prospering in the Era of Automation and One Belt One Road
November 7 & 8, 2017
Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
540 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
We are pleased to invite you to our 18th Annual U.S.-China Trade Conference, which is to be held on Tuesday, November 7 and Wednesday, November 8 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. This year, our focus is on trade strategy in the technology era.
Trade is a critical element in the prosperity of the global economy. China has risen to the second largest economy within four decades through trade because of its competitive advantage due to its huge population and low-cost labor pool. However, technology has recently taken over as the leading force in the economic growth of the world. B2B, B2C, mobile devices, cloud computing, social media, automation, digitalization, co-working and co-living space are all buzz words of the last decade. Technology that at one point seemed to be futuristic is now part of our daily lives. Even GE, the industrial and consumer products giant, is now transforming to a digital industrial company with a focus on “Industrial Internet.” The impact of technology on business and trade is fundamental.
Technology facilitates global trade by increasing the flow of goods and capital. At the same time, technology is replacing manual labor and diminishing the importance of low cost labor. Technology requires investment and is largely accessible only to those with access to capital. This means that trade in the future will never be the same as in the past when less developed countries could emerge rapidly. Technology’s by-product is monopoly, and monopoly controls product life cycle and everything built around it. This further empowers those economically developed countries to reshape global trade strategies.
China, which has built its trade strategy on labor intensive industries, is under siege. Many of China’s manufacturing platforms are outdated, and its manufactured goods are facing obsolescence. At the same time, e-commerce has offered new global channels to companies that would otherwise have no access to foreign markets. With the recent signings of a large number of trade agreements, global competition is more intense and global trade is more complicated. This highly condensed, comprehensive conference is timely and will examine some of the crucial factors in competing globally.
The Honorable Hong Lei, Consul General of the PRC in Chicago and former Spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry of PRC will give a Keynote Speech on “How Can U.S. Companies Prosper from China's One Belt One Road Initiative?”
A new session on inbound investments from Chinese companies has been added. Three panelists will join the panel discussion: “Strategic and Cultural Implications of Chinese Companies Investing in the U.S.” They are Leo Liu, Managing Director / CFO, AnBang International (U.S.) (AnBang is the largest Chinese investor in the U.S., and their investments including acquisition of Strategic Hotels for $6.5 billion, Waldorf Astoria NY for $1.95B Nurdin Bi, CFO of Goldwind (Chicago), the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world; Nicholas Sheets, Attorney at Law, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. The session will be moderated by Tracy Xu, Area Vice President, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
Edward J. Wajda, Senior Vice President, Briggs & Stratton Corporation will now chair the concluding session: “Elements of Successful Trade Strategy in the New Age: An Open Discussion.”
Technology now plays an increasing role in our daily life, and international trade is not the same as what it was when we hosted our first conference 18 years ago. Along with technology, it comes with the elimination of jobs. This conference is extremely timely. Not only will it address how U.S.-China trade has changed, but also it will discuss how we can position ourselves for the future. I sincerely hope that you will come to join us to build this community in November 7 and 8.
Important Registration Deadlines
Early Registration Deadline: October 9, 2017. Register early for a $100.00 discount.
Final Registration Deadline: October 27, 2017
You can register for the conference by any of the following ways
Email: Email a completed registration form to RSVP@usccc.org.
Fax: Fax a completed registration form to (312) 368-9922.
Phone: Register over the phone by contacting our office at (312) 368-9911.
Mail: Please mail your completed registration form to our office
Attn: Siva Yam, CPA, CFA
U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce
55 W. Monroe Street, Suite 630
Chicago, IL 60603
Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile has a block of rooms available for conference participants at a special rate of $269.00 per night. To make a reservation, please contact Marriott directly.
By Phone: Hotel General line: (312) 836-0100 or Reservation line: 1(877) 303-0104. Mention 18th Annual U.S.-China Trade Conference
The U.S.-China Trade Conference is being held at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
540 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.
November 7, 2017
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.
The Honorable Edward Burke, Dean and Chairman of Finance Committee, Chicago City Council
9:15 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Messages from Co-Chairs
Michael Turansick, Partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP
Lou Longo, Partner, Plante Moran, PLLC
9:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Keynote: How Can U.S. Companies Prosper from China's One Belt One Road Initiative?
The Honorable Hong Lei, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Chicago (invited)
10:00 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
Digitalization and Automation: How Have They Changed the World? A Panel Discussion
Moderator: Siva Yam, CPA, CFA, President, U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce
Panelists: Mohamed Abuali, Ph.D, Chief Executive Officer - Americas, FORCAM Inc.
Laura Ren, Director, Operations and Planning Strategy, Masimo Corporation
10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Coffee Break and Networking
11:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Is Manufacturing Moving Back to the U.S.? A Panel Discussion
Moderator: Andy Rice, Senior Vice President, The Jordan Company
Panelists: Teresa Hack, President, Channel Products, Inc.
Yen Lin, Director of International Sourcing, Briggs & Stratton Corporation
11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Securing and Managing Work Force Across the Globe
Michael Turansick, Partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP
12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Strategic and Cultural Implications of Chinese Companies Investing in the U.S.
Moderator: Tracy Xu, Area Vice President, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
Panelists: Leo Liu, Managing Director/CFO. AnBang International (U.S.)
Nurdin Bi, Managing Director, Goldwind (Chicago)
Nicholas Sheets, Attorney-at-Law, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
2:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Operating in China in the Years of "China Dreams" - Dos and Don'ts
Lou Longo, Partner, Plante Moran, PLLC
3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
3:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Avoiding Trade Regulations Pitfalls under President Trump's Administration
Eric Rock, Attorney-at-Law, Rock Trade Law, LLC
4:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Reinventing Chinese Manufactures - En Dian Leather Goods: A Case Study.
Siva Yam, CPA, CFA, President, U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce
4:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
4:45 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.
Networking Dinner in Chinatown
November 8, 2017
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.
Is China Still Competitive for Sourcing? A Panel Discussion and Case Studies.
Panelists: Chuck Whitmer, Vice President, Global Supply Chain, Intermatic Incorporated
Brian Weber, Vice President, Polo Custom Products
9:45 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.
Intellectual Property Rights in the Technology Age
Cary Levitt, Esq., Chief Operation Officer, Dennemeyer & Co, LLC
Steven M. Shape, Managing Partner, Dennemeyer & Co, LLC
10:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Coffee Break and Networking
10:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Accessing Chinese Consumer Market and Import Compliance: Facts and Fictions in the Digital Era. A Panel Discussion
Moderator: Siva Yam, CPA, CFA, President, U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce
Panelist: Donald Fischer, Principal, Fisher & Associates
11:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Elements of Successfull Trade Strategy in the New Age: An Open Discussion
Moderator: Edward J. Wajda, Senior Vice President, Briggs & Stratton Corporation
Closing Remarks and Adjournment
Dr. Mohamed Abuali, Ph.D.
Managing Director, Americas, FORCAM, Inc.
Dr. Mohamed (Mo) Abuali is passionately leading and growing FORCAM operations in the Americas since its inception in 2012.
Mohamed Abuali immaculately executes philosophies from Industrial Engineering, a field that exclusively deals with the optimization of complex processes and systems. With mentorship from the Center for Intelligent Maintenance Systems (IMS) at the University of Cincinnati, a recognized international leader in Predictive Analytics and Industrial Big Data, Mohamed redefines increased global competitiveness for FORCAM’s client landscape.
Mohamed brings 20 years of manufacturing technology experience in digital transformation and predictive maintenance and analytics, with in-depth knowledge of delivering productivity improvements in Automotive, Aerospace & Defense, Medical Devices, and Oil & Gas manufacturers.
Mohamed holds a PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Cincinnati, and a Bachelor’s in Systems Engineering from the University of Arizona.
Managing Director, Goldwind USA
Goldwind Science & Technology is the largest manufacturer of wind turbines in China and is the top 5 largest wind turbine manufacturers globally. Goldwind USA is the subsidiary of Goldwind Science & Technology in Chicago established in 2009.
Mr. Bi worked as Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Managing Director in Goldwind USA for 7 years.
Obtained financing for over $600 million in total investment to date that has created hundreds of American jobs in sales,manufacturing, construction and service, achieved over 650 MW wind farms in the Americas.
Closed over $360 million financing for utility-scale project;
Prior to Goldwind USA, Mr. Bi worked as a Investment Director for Goldwind in China for 4 years. Prior to that, he worked for China Construction Bank and Chiyuan Tianhe accountant firm.
Mr. Bi obtained his Bachelor of Finance from Xinjiang University, and the MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
The Honorable Edward M. Burke
Dean and Chairman of Finance Committee, Chicago City Council
Edward M. Burke, 63, the Dean of the Chicago City Council, has served as Alderman of Chicago's 14th Ward for more than three-and-a-half decades. A recognized expert on city budget matters, Alderman Burke is the Chairman of the City Council Committee on Finance.
A master parliamentarian, Alderman Burke entered politics by following in the footsteps of his father, Joseph P., and became Democratic Committeeman of the 14th Ward in 1968 and Alderman in 1969. Alderman Burke was a Chicago Police Officer, serving from 1965 to 1968.
As Chairman of the City Council's powerful Committee on Finance, Alderman Burke holds the city's purse strings and is responsible for all legislative matters pertaining to the city's finances, including municipal bonds, taxes and revenue matters. Alderman Burke became Chairman for the second time in 1989. He previously served from 1983 to 1987. He also serves as a member of the Chicago Plan Commission.
Throughout his career in public life, Alderman Burke has been an avid student of Chicago history and is the co-author of two books, Inside the Wigwam: Chicago Presidential Conventions, 1860-1996; and End of Watch.
Alderman Burke is a partner in the law firm of Klafter & Burke and is involved in many civic and charitable organizations, including the One Hundred Club of Cook County, the Knights of Columbus and the Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago.
A lifelong resident of the Southwest Side, Alderman Burke graduated from Quigley Preparatory Seminary in 1961 and earned his Bachelor's Degree from DePaul University in 1965. He received his Juris Doctor Degree from DePaul University College of Law in 1968 and was admitted to the Illinois Bar that same year.
Alderman Burke and his wife, Anne, a Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, are the parents of four children: Jennifer, Edward, Sarah and the late Emmett. The Burkes are also the permanent guardians of Travis.
Principal, Fischer & Associates
Don Fischer is the Principal of Fischer & Associates, one of the country’s leading export compliance practices. Based in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., with affiliate offices in the E.U. and the People’s Republic of China, Fischer & Associates assists corporations with the development of comprehensive Export Control compliance and FCPA programs, as well as providing risk-assessments; development and implementation of control processes; Executive Suite and staff trainings; strategic advice on overseas expansion; outsource compliance services; and interface with government agencies.
Mr. Fischer is also Of Counsel to Neville Peterson LLP, a New York and Washington, D.C.-based law firm, providing supporting legal counsel to that firm on international trade matters.
Mr. Fischer holds a J.D. and LL.M from the University of Miami School of Law, is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, the California Chamber of Commerce International Trade Committee, and is a lecturer for the AUECO, NACUA, AUTM, American Conference Institute on export regulations, as well as C5 and SMI, based in Europe.
Mr. Fischer has more than 25 years of export control experience. Prior to founding Fischer & Associates and becoming Of Counsel to Neville Peterson, LLP, Mr. Fischer served as the Managing Director of Pricewaterhouse Cooper’s Worldtrade Management Services practice, and global Export Controls Leader. Mr. Fischer has served as an Associate Attorney with Horton, Whiteley & Cooper and as a Director of International Trade at Deloitte & Touche. He is the author of many articles on export control compliance, Customs valuation, and multinational trade planning for the Journal of Commerce.
President and Chief Operation Officer, Channel Products
Teresa Hack is President and Chief Operating Officer of Channel Products, a privately held, Cleveland-based manufacturer of component systems and technologies for the gas appliance industry and a sought-after supplier of high-tech materials for the piezoelectric and piezo-ceramic industries. Channel Products has manufacturing facilities in both the U.S. and China, with a distribution center in Europe. Under her leadership, the company’s revenue has grown by over forty percent, the overall employee base has doubled, and she has built a culture based on high levels of both individual and corporate performance, as well as charitable service.
In addition to her management of Channel Products, Ms. Hack has earned a following as a speaker on issues of leadership, personal development, and business culture. An accomplished business executive, she serves on the Board of Directors for one of the nation's leading retailers of high-end outdoor furnishings and on the Visiting Committee of Cleveland State University's Monte Ahuja College of Business.
Ms. Hack's most recent honors include recognition of Channel Products as a "2016 Evolution in Manufacturing" award, a “2017 Smart Culture” award recipient, a 2017 Distinguished Employer of the Year Award from the Ohio Cooperative Education Association, and her own inclusion as a Smart Business Magazine "2016 Progressive Woman" honoree. Within the last several months, she was a keynote speaker for the Ohio Cooperative Education Association Conference, keynote for the Women’s Leadership Conference of Northeast Ohio, and was a featured panelist for the U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce Women’s Conference, the Smart Culture business awards, and the CSU College of Engineering STEM Women in Leadership conference.
Ms. Hack holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and a Master of Organizational Leadership degree.
With a passion for seeing people develop and thrive, Teresa lives by the mantra of leading people while managing process. She believes that hiring, equipping, empowering, and developing intelligent human capital is key to continual success in any organization.
Ms. Hack resides near Cleveland, OH.
The Honorable Hong Lei
Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Chicago
Mr. HONG Lei, born in August 1969, graduated with a BA degree. He is married with a son.
1991-1994 Staff member, Attaché, Department of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China (MFA)
1994-1997 Attaché, Third Secretary, Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands
1997-2000 Third Secretary, Deputy Division Director, Department of Information, MFA
2000-2004 Second Secretary, First Secretary, Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco
2004-2007 First Secretary, Division Director, Counsellor, Department of Information, MFA
2007-2010 Counsellor, Department of Information, MFA
2010-2016 Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Deputy Director General, Department of Information, MFA
2016- Consul General of China to Chicago
Cary A. Levitt
Chief Operating Officer, Dennemeyer Group
Cary A. Levitt is the U.S. Chief Operating Officer for the Dennemeyer Group where he develops and implements strategies to exploit Dennemeyer’s extensive IP services.
Mr. Levitt’s 30 years of legal experience centers in the corporate sector where he has been at the forefront of intellectual property changes. As Chief Intellectual Property Counsel at Dow Corning Corporation, Mr. Levitt led a global team of more than 25 employees to advance and protect Dow Corning’s diverse technologies and markets.
Previously, Mr. Levitt served as corporate counsel at DuPont and General Counsel of Solae, LLC, a joint venture by DuPont and Bunge.
Director of International Sourcing, Briggs & Stratton Corporation
Yen-Jung Lin is the Director of International Sourcing at Briggs & Stratton Corporation. She has earned her Undergraduate Degree in Taipei, Taiwan and in Seoul, Korea and her Masters Degree in Mathematics, Business & Computer Science from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1994. She began her career in the US with a Liquid cooled engine company located in Wisconsin. Her jobs at this company included Supply Chain Management, Cost Reduction, International Sourcing and Logistics.
Under Briggs & Stratton she was given the opportunity to share her knowledge in international sourcing areas with others. Her key task and accomplishments at Briggs included:
2003 - Assigned Task of Establish Global Sourcing for Briggs & Stratton Corp.
2004 - Milwaukee Sourcing Office was established
2004 - B&S Chongqing Purchasing Team was successfully established in China to
Comply with companies best practices
2005 –Briggs Shanghai Sourcing and Supplier Quality Team established and trained
on companies best practice to assist in finding qualified LCCS suppliers.
2007 –Established Briggs Ostrava, Czech Republic, Purchasing Team
2012 –Assigned to re-structure and lead Contract Manufacturing Sourcing &
2012 - Integrate Briggs Curitiba, Brazil, Purchasing Team for sourcing best practice
2014 – Current Manage $200M+ LCC Procurement Spend and CM procurement
During this time, her Teams accomplishments have been to locate and qualify over 100 suppliers around the World. Her Teams have been successful in finding LCCS in Taiwan, China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, India, Philippines, South America, India and Mexico.
In 2009 the Sourcing Team, directed by her, have reached their Goal of $10,000,000 (USD) in Savings as targeted. Her Sourcing Teams have also reached the 26% mark of LCCS purchases from it's overall purchases at B&S in 2013
In 2012 Global Contract Manufacturing Sourcing Commodity Managers Team were structured and established
In 2013 Global Contract Manufacturing Sourcing Strategy was established and Sourcing process was implemented since
In 2017 the Global Contract Mfg Sourcing Team, have reached YTY 2.5% to 4% savings for the past 5 years of managing C/M Commodities.
Xu (Leo) Liu
Managing Director and CFO, Anbang International (U.S.)
Board Director of Strategic Hotels & Resorts
Mr. Xu (Leo) Liu is the Managing Director and CFO of Anbang International (U.S.) and Board Director of Strategic Hotels & Resorts. He brings over 20 years of financial expertise to the Anbang management team. Before joining Anbang in 2015, Mr. Liu was the Treasurer and Head of Financial Markets in Bank of China, New York, managed about US$80 billion balance sheet. Before he moved to the New York in 2001, he held various positions with the bank as a trader and portfolio manager in Beijing, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Mr. Liu holds a BA in International Economics from Peking University and an MS in Financial Engineering from NYU, Polytechnic Institute. He holds Financial Risk Manager (FRM) certificate.
He is also a board director of China General Chamber of Commerce (U.S).
Associate Attorney, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen, & Loewy LLP
Tzu-Kai (Kai) Lo is an Associate Attorney with the Chicago office of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen, and Loewy, LLP. Kai concentrates his immigration law practice on employment-based immigration matters. He represents a well diverse base of clients across a variety of industries, including solo proprietorships, startups, small-medium size enterprises, multinational companies, publicly traded companies, public school districts, high educational institutions, think-tanks, and not-for-profit organizations. His practice encompasses nonimmigrant visas including B-1s, E-1s, E-2s, E-3s, H-1Bs, L-1As, L-1Bs, O-1s, and TNs, PERM labor certifications, immigrant visas, citizenship and I-9 compliance. He has represents clients of high-volume nonimmigrant visa filing, complex L blanket, L-1A and L-1B petitions, and PERM filing and audits and BALCA appeals. Kai has also represented clients of outstanding achievements in their EB-1A and EB-1B filing and has filed Immigrant Petition with a National Interests Waiver for certain foreign entrepreneurs. He also represents individual foreign investor clients in their EB-5 immigrant petitions through direct investment or regional center pilot projects. Kai obtained his Bachelor of Law from National Taipei University in 1999, and Master of Laws (LL.M.) in 2002 and Juris Doctor in 2005 from the College of Law at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Kai speaks, reads, and writes English, Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese.
Lou Longo, CPA
Partner, Plante Moran
Lou Longo leads the Plante Moran Global Services Team. Plante Moran Global Services includes consultants, accountants and engineers experienced in strategy, finance, tax, and business operations for multinational organizations. Lou leads the firm’s Global Services’ offices in Chicago, Detroit, Shanghai, China and Monterrey, Mexico. In addition to his leadership role, Lou is an international business consultant assisting manufacturers and service organizations with global business strategies and transactions. He provides expertise to clients engaged in international business in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.
Mr. Longo's wide range of experience includes purchasing, operating, and the sale of a variety of business concerns. He assists clients with globalization and off-shoring strategies, foreign investments, mergers, joint ventures, transactional due diligence, market analysis, transfer pricing studies, and export market requirements. In addition, Lou is a frequent speaker on international business considerations to various groups, including World Trade Center chapters, the Export Academy, as well as business associations and client groups. This experience led to his appointment by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce to the District Export Council. Lou is quoted frequently on international business matters, including The Wall Street Journal, Smart Money, Financial Times and other business publications.
Director of Operations Strategy and Analysis, Masimo Inc.
Laura Ren serves as Director of Operations Strategy and Analysis at Masimo Inc and has been with the company for 2 years and 10 months. Masimo Inc., is located in Irvine, CA and is a global medical technology company that develops and manufactures innovative noninvasive patient monitoring technologies, medical devices, and a wide array of sensors.
Ms. Ren previously spent 20+ years with Motorola Inc. and worked in Quality Management and Supply Chain Operations in Tianjin MFG, China. Ms. Ren also worked Sales Operations and Product Marketing in Beijing, China and Business Operations in Global Software group and PMO in IT in Schaumburg, IL for 12+ years.
Ms. Ren recevied her MS in Engineering Management from Northwestern University. She received her MS in Robotics and BS in Mechanical Engineering from Tianjin University. She is holds certification for PMP, 6 Sigma Green Belt, ITIL, ISO9001. ISO14001, and IT Portfolio Management.
Andrew W. Rice
Senior Vice President of International Business, The Jordan Company
Andy Rice is Senior Vice President of International Business at The Jordan Company, LP ("TJC"), a leading global middle-market private equity firm with $8 billion in assets under management. Prior to joining TJC in 1989, Mr. Rice held various corporate development, strategy and marketing positions at Ameritech, IC Industries, and The Pillsbury Company.
Mr. Rice has traveled extensively assisting TJC companies expand overseas. Since 1990, he has helped coordinate over 60 acquisitions, joint ventures and wholly-owned start-up operations worldwide. In addition, he has helped TJC companies establish numerous sourcing and sales offices worldwide. During the past 15 years Mr. Rice has focused on projects in China, Southeast Asia and India where he travels regularly to support TJC projects in these growing regions. TJC and its affiliates has been a leading US investor in China completing 35 investments since 1995, including acquisitions of both private companies and State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).
Mr. Rice earned a B.S. Industrial Engineering and an M.S. Industrial Engineering in Engineering Administration, both from New Mexico State University. In 1979, Mr. Rice was named the Outstanding Industrial Engineering Student in the U.S. by the Institute of Industrial Engineers. He also completed one year of graduate studies in international economics at the University of Melbourne, Australia, where he studied as a Rotary Foundation Graduate Fellow.
Mr. Rice is a 2011 recipient of the International M&A Leadership Award from The M&A Advisor. He currently serves on the board of the US-China Chamber of Commerce, the advisory board of ACG Chicago and several community service organizations. Mr. Rice is Past Chairman of the Board of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG Global). He also formerly served on the boards of the Illinois Finance Authority and the Washington, D.C. based Small Business Exporters Association. Mr. Rice is also a member of the Executives’ Club of Chicago, the International Trade Association of Greater Chicago, the American Chamber of Commerce-China (Beijing) and the Irish Angels (a VC angel network affiliated with the University of Notre Dame). He is also a volunteer with several community and Catholic Church groups.
Eric R. Rock
Attorney at Law, Rock Trade Law LLC
Eric R. Rock concentrates his practice on customs and international trade matters. He has over 25 years of experience representing clients in all facets of import and export compliance, including the design of compliance programs, and reducing costs through favorable rulings concerning tariff classification, product valuation, free trade agreements, and special trade programs. He has also defended against trade violations arising from government investigations, audits, internal reviews, or penalty cases.
Mr. Rock has also advised clients regarding US export laws and regulations, including restrictions on the sale or disclosure of US-origin technology to foreign nationals, export licensing requirements, encryption controls and compliance with US trade embargoes.
Mr. Rock has developed unique experience in creating innovative compliance solutions and proactive countermeasures to address the challenges facing his clients. His firm is dedicated to delivering cost effective trade compliance services and legal defense.
Mr. Rock frequently handles inquiries related to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and antidumping / countervailing duties. He also assists clients in successfully enrolling in beneficial trade programs such as the Importer Self-Assessment (ISA) program and the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT).
His litigation experience includes defending antidumping scope exclusions and advocating preferential tariff classifications. He has also worked with congressional and government offices to successfully introduce special trade legislation.
Prior to his legal career, Mr. Rock was a licensed customs broker, working with corporate clients to implement trade compliance initiatives and tailor procedures to ensure the effective importation and exportation of merchandise. He is also a former Partner and Head of the Customs and International Trade Practice at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP.
Managing Partner, United States, Dennemeyer Group
Steven Shape has practiced intellectual property law since 1982. His background is in electrical engineering and computer hardware, software and integrated systems. He represents clients in litigation and in United States and foreign patent, trademark and copyright prosecution matters.
Mr. Shape has successfully represented clients in complex business litigation focused on patent infringement claims, trademark and Lanham Act claims, copyright claims, unfair competition claims, false advertising, trade secret claims, and related antitrust and business causes. He has served as counsel in a number of jury and bench trials and has extensive experience in all aspects of Federal Court litigation including preliminary injunctions, summary judgments and appeals to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, including post grant proceedings (IPR and PGR).
Mr. Shape counsels clients in transactions involving IP rights worldwide, including providing infringement, validity and freedom-to-practice opinions and managing licensing programs in the United States and overseas. His expertise includes the electrical arts, computer technology (hardware and software) , database systems, cyber-security and data protection, e-commerce systems and software, audio and video (A/V) systems and processes, multimedia and digital communications, heart mapping technologies, medical devices, semiconductor devices, telecommunications, electronic discharge machining (EDM), CNC systems, manufacturing, machining processes, fastener manufacturing and the mechanical arts.
Steven is licensed to practice law in Illinois (1982), Wisconsin (2008) and many federal courts, the United States Supreme Court (1984), the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (1982) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (Reg. No. 30,802). He is also a Licensed Private Pilot.
Attorney at Law, Gleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Nicholas Sheets is an associate in the New York office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.
Mr. Sheets’ practice focuses on the organization and operation of private investment funds. He regularly assists global and major regional sponsors with their fund formation and management activities in Asia.
Mr. Sheets joined Cleary in 2010. From 2013 to 2016 he was resident in the Hong Kong office.
Nicholas previously served as an intern at the Department of Treasury, U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, and separately with the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.
Michael F. Turansick
Partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP
Michael F. Turansick is a Partner at Fragomen, Del Rey Bernsen & Loewy LLP and manages the Firm’s Chicago office. A graduate of Fordham Law School in New York City, Mr. Turansick has been practicing in the field of immigration and nationality law for over 30 years. He manages a diverse practice that it is comprised of individual, start-up, mid size, and large multinational companies encompassing a broad range of industry sectors. His work on behalf of clients includes advising on PERM compliance strategies, the immigration consequences of Mergers & Acquisitions and other corporate restructurings, Form I-9 and H-1B/LCA compliance, EB-5 immigration options and strategic immigration program management. A frequent author and speaker on immigration topics, Mr. Turansick is listed in the current edition of The International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers.
Edward J. Wajda II
Senior Vice President, Briggs & Stratton Corporation
Edward J. Wajda II brings over 20 years of global success in Senior Vice President and Divisional President roles accountable for the strategic, financial, and operational performance of his respective divisions. He has broad international experience in helping organizations formulate and execute growth strategies leading to financial growth. His leadership has led cross-functional and regional teams in achieving successful growth in Asia, EMEA, LATAM, and North America for various companies including Briggs & Stratton, Oshkosh Corporation, Prime Medical, and Jacuzzi Whirlpool Bath. Such growth successes included organic initiatives, acquisitions, and joint ventures in both mature and emerging markets. Edward also brings crisis management experience having successfully managed business divisions most notably through the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and the recent Brazilian economic downturn.
Mr. Wajda acts as director for the US-China Chamber of Commerce and the Brazil-US Business Council. He also participates on the advisory boards for the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and the Wisconsin State Golf Association. Recently, he established a junior golf foundation focused on developing junior golfers’ core values and personal integrity through the game of golf.
Brian M. Weber
Vice President, Product Development & Global Supply Chain, Polo Custom Products
Brian M. Weber is Vice President, Product Development & Global Supply Chain for Polo Custom Products headquartered in Topeka, Kansas. Brian routinely travels between all of Polo’s domestic and overseas manufacturing facilities but keeps his office at Polo’s manufacturing plant in Monticello, Iowa.
Polo Custom Products is an industry leader for innovative design and global manufacturing, serving OEMs in the medical, fire & safety, industrial, and government/military markets. Their core competencies lie in custom design and manufacturing processes for industrial sewing, radio‐frequency sealing, thermoforming and composite manufacturing.
Polo Custom Products own and operate manufacturing facilities in Iowa and Mississippi, with additional affiliated manufacturing partnerships in China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Puerto Rico. Brian joined Polo Custom Products in 1996 as a Manufacturing Engineer where his primary responsibility was implementing LEAN Manufacturing principles on the production floor. After only a few years, Brian started working closely with Polo’s OEM customers in the capacity of Design Engineer, helping them design and develop products with an emphasis on Design for Manufacturability while at the same time maintaining his responsibilities as a manufacturing engineer. In 1999, Brian was tasked with managing Polo’s Quality Assurance department and preparing the division for ISO 9001 certification which was achieved in 2002. By 2003, Brian was given responsibility for Polo’s entire Product Development department where he implemented many changes to improve the division’s design capabilities and provide the resources for Polo to become the customer’s TOTAL Source for products engineered to their exact specifications. In 2005, Brian was promoted to Director of Product Development and in 2007 promoted once more to Vice President where he assumed responsibility for Polo’s Procurement department and all overseas manufacturing. Brian lead the effort to find new low labor cost manufacturing partnerships outside of China to hedge against China’s increasing labor costs. In 2012, Polo began manufacturing sewn products in Bangkok, Thailand then went on to establish additional manufacturing capabilities in Vietnam in 2014 and Puerto Rico in 2016 through manufacturing partnerships with existing companies employing a variety of manufacturing capabilities.
In his role as Director of Product Development, Brian was made primary Point of Contact and worked closely with Natick and USAMMDA from 2003 to 2009 to develop Polo Custom Products’ 2nd Generation Chemical Protective Patient Wrap. The new and improved Chemical Protective Patient Wrap was eventually approved and purchased by the U.S. Army in 2009 to protect Warfighters on the battlefield against all know chemical warfare agents. Today, Brian remains Polo’s Subject Matter Expert for the Patient Wrap and is responsible for all of Polo’s Government and Defense Programs.
Brian Weber holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from The University of Iowa and is a named inventor on three US Patents. Outside of work, Brian serves on the Board of Directors for Jones County Economic Development Commission and actively volunteers as a Junior Achievement instructor, youth tackle football coach, and guest speaker for Workplace Learning Connection. Brian was named one of Eastern Iowa’s Forty under 40 award by the Corridor Business Journal in 2012 and awarded a Distinguished Sales & Marketing Award from Sales & Marketing Executives International in 2010.
Mr. Weber lives in Robins, Iowa with his wife, Amy, and has two children, Cole (14) and Lauren (9). In his free time, Brian enjoys flying, golf, hunting, off‐road motorcycle racing, competitive pistol shooting, and SCUBA diving.
Vice President of Global Supply Chain, Intermatic, Inc.
Chuck Whitmer is the Vice President of Global Supply Chain for Intermatic, a 125 year old, family owned company located in Spring Grove, Illinois, which manufactures and distributes energy management products servicing the Electrical, Utility, HVAC/R, Pool/Spa and Retail markets globally.
Chuck is a veteran of the Supply Chain industry working for manufacturers, consultants and third party logistics providers. He has a wealth of experience in General Management and Operations supporting end- to-end global supply chains across multiple industries including Energy Management, Pharmaceuticals/Medical Products, Sporting Goods, and Consulting for companies such as Baxter, Accenture, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Riddell Sports, Ryder and Intermatic.
Chuck is responsible for Intermatic’s global supply chain which includes forecasting, demand planning, strategic sourcing, procurement, supplier relationship management, inventory management, trade compliance, warehousing and transportation. He oversees supply chain operations in Spring Grove, Illinois; Juarez, Mexico; El Paso, Texas; Germany and Hong Kong, as well as a global supplier base throughout Asia, Europe and North America.
Chuck holds a degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and is on the board at the Loyola University Supply and Value Chain Center.
Chuck lives in Barrington, Illinois with his wife Laurie. They have two children, Grant and Shannon. Grant is a senior at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland studying Bio Chemistry and Economics. Shannon is a sophomore at the University of Kentucky studying Biology and Natural Resources. Chuck is an avid bicyclist and also likes to golf and fly fish.
Vice President, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
Ms. Xu has over 20 years of hands-on cross border business experience in commercial insurance, international sales, marketing and business development.
As Vice President at A.J. Gallagher, Ms. Xu advises U.S. domestic and global corporations on commercial insurance and risk management. As a member of the firm’s Asia Pacific Practice Group, she advises Chinese and Asia Pacific clients for their commercial insurance needs in the U.S..
Prior to joining A.J. Gallagher, Ms. Xu held various management positions for AIG in Chicago, New York and Hong Kong for 10 years, overseeing growth and profitability of various insurance lines of business in the U.S. and Asia.
Her experience in China ranged from establishing the China office for A.O. Smith, a U.S. fortune 500 manufacturing company, and handling mergers and acquisitions, to gaining valuable insights working with the China Ministry of Transportation and the US Embassy’s Foreign Commercial Service in Beijing, China.
Ms. Xu is also a business consultant, certified cross cultural trainer and executive coach. She has trained and coached middle to senior level American and Chinese executives from small to large size corporations as well as business owners and entrepreneurs on issues related to U.S.-China cross cultural communication, management, team building and personal integration and growth.
Tracy founded "China Executive Club", a non-for-profit organization serving the needs of Chinese companies doing business in the U.S.. It connects Chinese and U.S. business leaders through seminars, peer advisory groups and networking events. Please visit the website for more details:
Ms. Xu is an active public speaker. She had been interviewed by various well known media such as Chicago Tribune, South China Morning Post, and National Public Radio. She speaks frequently in conferences on China-US business, cross cultural management, social and emotional intelligence topics.
Tracy received an MBA from University of Wisconsin-Madison in Marketing and Entrepreneurship and is fluent in Mandarin and English.
President, U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce
A Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Financial Analyst, Mr. Siva Yam, CPA, CFA, is an internationally recognized expert in U.S.-Asia business. He is an entrepreneur and investment banking professional with over 20 years of experience in mergers, acquisitions, public offerings and private placements of securities, with a focus in cross border business and trade activities between the U.S. and Asia, in particular, The Greater China Region and Vietnam. Mr. Yam also serves as President of the United States of America-China Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit organization founded by the late Prescott S. Bush, Jr. that is dedicated to promoting trade and investment activities between the U.S. and China. He recently co-founded and serves as Chairman of the U.S.-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce, an organization that works to foster the growth of U.S.-ASEAN business, specifically, between the U.S. and Vietnam through the combined resources of the U.S., China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and India. Previously, he co-founded an investment banking boutique and served on the Advisory Board of the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago. Currently, Mr. Yam is setting up a number of ventures in Vietnam and China, which include projects in the areas of real estate, healthcare, education, entertainment and sports.
Mr. Yam received his MBA from Duke University on a Fuqua Fellowship and his Bachelor of Business Administration, Magna Cum Laude, from the University of Wisconsin. Previously, he also graduated from the Hong Kong Polytechnic with Honors and is fluent in both English and Chinese.