Georgia should market itself in China as the top packaging and distribution center for the Americas, Clarence Kwan, New York-based partner of Deloitte, told attendees of the “Georgia-China Future” roundtable held at the Georgia Ports Authority in Savannah on Oct. 22.

            During a follow-up interview with GlobalFax, the veteran China consultant said he considered such an initiative “almost a no brainer,” considering Georgia’s strengths in logistics, packaging, paper products and warehousing.

Mr. Kwan also said the creation of a special free trade zone from which Chinese companies could assemble and send their products throughout the hemisphere would signal the state’s seriousness in developing its trading and investment partnership with China.

“Packaging in China is not very good,” he added. “In Georgia there are strengths in the paper industry and the Chinese want to deal with No. 1.”

According to Mr. Kwan, Georgia is in a position to make a compelling case to Chinese companies that it offers a niche opportunity that would help them with their corporate images and assist them in attracting sophisticated consumers.

            “China has become the manufacturing center of the world,” he said, “and the Chinese are ready to invest overseas. They feel that their time has come. They are looking for market access to natural resources, technology and intellectual resources.”

            Mr. Kwan was invited to Savannah to provide his insights by the “Georgia-China Future” initiative, which was launched by Sen. Sam Zamarripa, D-Atlanta.

            A third meeting of the initiative is to be held from 1-4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 4, in the Masters Room at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education on the University of Georgia campus in Athens.

            Besides the roundtable in Savannah, the initiative held a meeting in Atlanta on Oct. 1, during which John Ling, a trade specialist with the South Carolina Trade Office, described the investment by one of China’s best known companies, the Haier Group, to build a refrigerator manufacturing plant in his state.

            Mr. Kwan has 25 years of consulting experience in China. From 1995 to 2002, he was based in Beijing as the deputy CEO of Deloitte’s China practice.

            To learn more about the Georgia-China Future initiative, go to  HYPERLINK