Engage China coalition focuses on trade talks

WASHINGTON: Engage China, a coalition of eight financial services trade associations seeking to loosen ownership restrictions in China, recently launched a media outreach and ad campaign timed to influence trade talks in Washington this week between senior US and Chinese government officials.

WASHINGTON: Engage China, a coalition of eight financial services trade associations seeking to loosen ownership restrictions in China, recently launched a media outreach and ad campaign timed to influence trade talks in Washington this week between senior US and Chinese government officials.

In addition to a press conference on May 22 featuring executives from the coalition, outreach has included appearances on CNBC and Bloomberg TV by former US Commerce secretary Don Evans, who heads coalition member Financial Services Forum, and an Op-Ed in the South China Morning Post. Media hits so far include the Financial Times, Associated Press, and Dow Jones, said Financial Services Forum SVP for communications Taylor Griffin.

The coalition has also launched a Web site, at www.engagechina.com, and run ads in Roll Call and CongressDaily/AM and on various "inside the Beltway" publication Web sites. Austin-based Public Strategies has assisted with some media outreach, though strategic messaging has been handled mostly within the coalition, according to Taylor.

Members of the coalition are also talking directly with US and Chinese trade officials and the US Congress about how US financial services firms could help China build its consumer economy.

"We've been spending a lot of time with the Treasury Department talking about our issues, a lot of time with members of Congress, and a lot of time with the Chinese behind the scenes, talking about ... the benefits we see to both countries in the expansion of financial services," Griffin said.

Formed last year prior to the start of the first US-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, which was held in China, the coalition consists of the American Banker's Association, American Council of Life Insurers, American Insurance Association, Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, Investment Company Institute, Financial Services Forum, Financial Services Roundtable, and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

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