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WTC Anchorage, WTC Harbin Elevate Trade on Arctic Silk Road

Jan 24, 2019 | Monitor, Nonprofits

WTC Harbin to present at 13th Annual Alaska-China Business Conference

Steven Lo, Executive Director, WTC Harbin; and Gregory Galik, Chairman, WTC Anchorage, shake hands after signing the Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on agricultural trade.


ANCHORAGE, HARBIN, Heilongjiang Province, China—This past year, WTCs Anchorage and Harbin have partnered in an MOU for Agriculture to build a robust framework for collaboration on agricultural trade issues. Spearheaded by WTC Harbin, this important agreement establishes deep ties to their local agriculture industries and the challenges they face. This offers a stable platform to foster trade ties and knowledge exchange during a time of increasing uncertainty. 

Last summer’s visit to Anchorage by WTC Harbin and business delegates of the Hua Kong Group from Harbin set the stage for exploring future partnerships in agriculture, tourism, airlines, fresh seafood, and other commercial interests, as Alaska and China could reap large economic benefits. 

To further these initiatives, WTC Anchorage has invited WTC Harbin to present at their annual Alaska-China Conference to continue to develop dialogues towards successful trade relations. The growing importance of Arctic resources for China’s continued growth, access to these resources along with commercial incubation for Northern agriculture technology exchange will catalyze development and commercialization of agricultural initiatives in the North. Efforts by officials in Alaska to provide direct air service to Harbin are underway, with 2019 ushering in new opportunities for bi-lateral business development, commerce and sharing of knowledge between the two regions. The goal is for Northern cities to flourish and fulfill the mission of responsible development of the Arctic by promoting business opportunities and trade. 

“This ongoing partnership between WTC Harbin and WTC Anchorage, fostered through agriculture, and cemented during the MOU signing between 50 WTCs worldwide, shows the interconnectedness of the global food chain,” remarked Steven Lo, Executive Director of WTC Harbin. “As northern cities, the relationship between our two locations is special, and we are excited that the soon to be opened air link between Anchorage and Harbin will elevate trade in the Arctic Silk Road. The upcoming visit of Mayor Berkowitz, Greg Wolf, Executive Director, WTC Anchorage, and a group of social and business leaders to Harbin reinforces the ties between our two cities and we are hopeful that we will progress our partnership beyond the realm of trade to include education and research amongst others.” 

“China is Alaska’s largest trading partner, making this MOU a reiteration of an already strong relationship,” expressed Gregory Galik, Chairman, World Trade Center Anchorage (WTC ANC). “We’ve worked with Harbin for more than 20 years, and WTC Harbin presenting at the Alaska-China conference means that we as regions will flourish and fulfill the mission of developing commerce, handshakes, business opportunities and trade. This further enables our local business communities with tools to access and participate in global trade and commercial scale agriculture in the northern latitudes.”

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Jack Amon and Richard “Van” Hale opened the doors of the Marx Bros. Café on October 18, 1979; however, the two had already been partners in cuisine for some time, having created the Wednesday Night Gourmet Wine Tasting Society and Volleyball Team Which Now Meets on Sunday, a weekly evening of food and wine. It was actually the end of the weekly event that spurred the name of the restaurant: hours after its final service, Amon and Hale were hauling equipment and furnishings out of their old location and to their now-iconic building on Third Street, all while managing arguments about equipment ownership, a visit from the police, and quite a bit of wine. “If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘A Night at the Opera” starring the Marx Brothers, that’s what it was like,” Hale explains.

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