April is the month when two things of interest to many ACCJ members normally come out in Washington, DC. The first, the cherry blossoms, were early this year and this year was particularly important because it is the 100th year since Japan’s arboreal gift to America. From all reports, though early, the blossoms were beautiful and the centennial celebrations fun.
The second thing that comes out in April and that gets attention from those of us interested in the bilateral relationship is the National Trade Estimates (NTE) report on Foreign Trade Barriers. The NTE is USTR’s annual report to Congress that identifies foreign barriers to American exports of goods and services. This year’s NTE is the 27th annual report so its history is just over a quarter of that of the cherry trees. But many of the items that appear on the report are hardy perennials. If you’re interested in what the policy gurus are discussing in your industry sector the full report is on line at the USTR website: www.ustr.gov.
Another way to tell that the seasons are changing is to watch the rotation going on among Embassy staff. Many if not most of our ACCJ committees have an Embassy officer who acts as liaison to their committee. This year we have a particularly large number of our Embassy colleagues who are leaving to go on to other posts or even on to retirement. In the last category is John Peters who has done a great job of handling the overall coordination of ACCJ with the Embassy and whom we meet most often at the Leadership Forum or at our monthly meetings with the Ambassador that John and his staff arrange. John has been a wonderful source of counsel and friendship and deserves a lot of the credit for the Chamber’s great working relationship with the Embassy.
We will also be saying sayonara to Marc Wall who spent many hours with us in the emotional trenches as we all worked our way through the tense and confusing events of 3/11 and the following weeks and months. Marc’s patience and sense of proportion was absolutely essential to the ACCJ leadership.
Jason Lawrence left town in April but not before the Insurance Committee had a chance to thank him for his hard work. And fortunately Helen Peterson of the Commercial Section and Conard Hamilton at State were here to get us through APCAC. Both spent many hours at meetings that lasted many hours but that were necessary for us to get all the details right on this event. We hope their supervisors will appreciate their contribution as much as we did and if so both can look forward to promotions in the next cycle. Aaron Forsberg was a force particularly in our entrepreneurial and growth strategy efforts. Mark Wildman’s expertise in regulatory affairs, Michael Daschbach’s in transportation, Naomi Walcott’s in Healthcare and many other sectors all helped our committees tremendously to carry out the work they do here at the ACCJ.
For all their time, energy and support we are very grateful. Thank you.