The views expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Atlanta Council on International Relations, the ACIR Board of Directors, or its members.

For a list of consular offices in Georgia, visit Georgia USA.



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  • 03/15/2021 12:33 PM | Sherry Lee (Administrator)

    Elliot Wang, Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Atlanta, discusses scenery, trade and "stinky tofu".


    Taiwan is well-known for beautiful scenery and popular tourism spots. According to Agoda, Taiwan was the number one most searched travel destination in 2020. Taiwan has something for everybody. You could catch some waves in Taitung, soak in hot springs in Yilan, hike in Hualien, or browse night markets in the capital, Taipei (or almost any other city!), just to name a few options!

    Taiwan has a rich history with diverse sources influencing our cultural makeup, languages, food, and customs. Taiwan is the birthplace of one of the most popular treats around the world, Bubble Milk Tea (boba)! If you want to try a popular food that sounds less appealing, check out Taiwanese stinky tofu. This pungent but delicious snack can be found in Taiwan’s many night markets.

                   

    We have just entered our season of celebration for the most important holiday in Taiwan, Lunar New Year. Lunar New Year celebrates the oncoming of the new Spring season. It is a wonderful time to come together with family across generations to eat good food, celebrate togetherness, and hope for blessings for the coming year. There are many fascinating traditions associated with the Lunar New Year, including hanging spring couplets upside down, eating fish and dumplings, giving and receiving red envelopes, and the Zodiac animals. This year is the year of the Ox, representing strength, resiliency, and honesty. If you would like to know more about the Lunar New Year, check out this fun video!

    Despite our small size, Taiwan has accomplished a lot. Taiwan is lauded for its strong rule of law, political rights, and civil liberties. In 2019, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to enact legislation allowing same-sex marriages. We have strong institutions in place to promote freedom of information and end misinformation campaigns. Recently, the Economic Intelligence Unit ranked Taiwan number one in Asia in its yearly Democracy Index rankings.

    Taiwan is the world’s 21st largest economy. Taiwan is the US’s 9th largest trading partner. Taiwan has become a leader in high-tech. Taiwan produces around 70% of the world’s integrated circuits and 90% of the world’s laptop computers. Taiwan’s tech industry continues to innovate in emerging technologies, such as IoT, 5G, and AI. A fourth of all college degrees in Taiwan are in engineering. As high-tech becomes more and more integrated into our daily lives, expect to see Taiwanese companies, like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Foxconn, in the headlines!

    We are also very proud of our healthcare system and workers, particularly this year. The Health Care Index has ranked Taiwan number one in the world for three years in a row. This index includes healthcare system, healthcare professionals, equipment, staff, doctors, cost, etc. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan successfully combatted the virus by putting travel restrictions in place early, utilizing new technologies to track transmission, and ramping up mask production. Thanks to the hard work of our medical professionals, Taiwan has been able to have a largely normal 2020, with relatively few COVID-related cases and deaths and the strongest economic growth of any developed country at 2.98%, in spite of being so geographically close to China, where the virus originated.

    Taiwan has also been extending help to our friends around the world during this time. Taiwan has donated over 150,000 surgical masks and 10,000 N95 masks to the State of Georgia, with hundreds of thousands more going to the rest of the Southeast. The inventor of the N95 mask material is actually a Taiwanese American retired professor from the University of Tennessee, Dr. Peter Tsai.

    Mask donations are not all we do in the Southeast US. We have been working fervently to promote agreements on various areas of cooperation, such as reciprocal driver’s license, language exchanges, and free trade agreements. Lately, Taiwan has taken steps to drastically increase our pork and beef imports from the US. Already, Taiwanese citizens are huge fans of Georgia pecans, which Taiwan first imported 51,000 pounds of in December 2019. Speaking to ACIR in September, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said, “You can find Georgia pecans in almost every local supermarket in Taiwan.”

    We also participate in social and cultural activities around Atlanta, where I love being based. Our annual national day celebration is a highlight of the year, as we invite many of our friends in the Southeast US to join us. Two years ago, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of Atlanta and Taipei’s sister-city relationship. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je visited Atlanta with a trade delegation to mark the occasion. Recently, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has designated a representative from Atlanta to attend the Taipei Smart City Summit and Expo (SCSE) in March 2021. There are also three other cities in Georgia that have sister-city relationships with cities in Taiwan. These are Brunswick with Yilan, Columbus with Taichung, and Macon with Kaohsiung City. These sister-city relationships have been incredibly fruitful for Georgia and Taiwan, supporting the vast expansion of economic, cultural, and educational ties.

    In 2006, the newly opened Georgia Aquarium was searching for mates for their two male whale sharks, Ralph and Norton. When our office heard about this through the AJC, we arranged for their mates, Alice and Trixie, to come all the way from the coasts of Taiwan. On June 4th, 2006, Alice and Trixie received an Atlanta Police Department escort from Hartsfield-Jackson to the Aquarium, where they were welcomed with a big party! Whale sharks are an endangered species, and the Georgia Aquarium has studied these beautiful creatures to try to help their future preservation.

    I am joyful to know that you readers have taken an interest in Taiwan and now know more about who we are. I would also encourage all of you to follow along with my office’s activities and fun posts on Facebook, Twitter, and our website! And please never hesitate to reach out to my office if we can be of service to you.

    Click Image Below for Bio



  • 02/08/2021 12:58 PM | Sherry Lee (Administrator)

    David D. Cutting, Honorary Consul General of Barbados, discusses Barbados as a business and investment destination.

    The mention of the word Barbados conjures up in the minds of most people, an exotic island with flawless, white sandy beaches and the warm azure waters of the Caribbean Sea on its West Coast and the rolling waves of the East Coast fueled by the intoxicating trade winds coming across the Atlantic Ocean. This is all true in addition to wonderfully diverse choices of hotels, villas, and Airbnb’s.

    What is less well known about Barbados is that it is a thriving business jurisdiction. The country’s commitment to transparency, information exchange and the enactment of anti-money laundering legislation places it among the most important and reputable financial centers in the world. Barbados is therefore considered to be a quality jurisdiction in which to live, play and do business.

    Invest Barbados, an Agency of the Government, is responsible for promoting Barbados as a destination for Investment and a home for companies and businesses who are interested in embracing the unique range of advantages in this well-regulated business friendly environment. Barbados has a well-developed legal system, based on English Common Law and Statutes. It offers a wide range of investment opportunities in several areas including:

    • International Business, Financial and Insurance Services
    • High value-added ICT services
    • Niche Manufacturing/Medical Devices
    • Renewable Energy
    • Education and Knowledge Delivery
    • Research and Development
    • Medicinal Cannabis
    • Tourism/Niche Medical Tourism
    • Fintech

    The compelling case for Barbados as an attractive jurisdiction is further supported by the following:

    • High international rankings
    • Strong human capital
    • High-quality infrastructure and technological readiness
    • Competitive tax rates
    • Captivating lifestyle
    • Outstanding professional services
    • Political, social, and economic stability
    • Expanding treaty network
    • Full and unrestricted repatriation of capital, profits, and dividends

    Over the years Barbados has purposefully pursued an expanding treaty network and has double taxation agreements with over 40 countries as well as nine investment treaties in force. Under these agreements, Barbadian entities that invest in other contracting states benefit from provisions offering protections including guarantees of non-discriminatory treatment of their investments, the transfer of investments and returns held in the host state and recourse to international arbitration to settle disputes with the host state.

    The government has employed a creative response to the current global pandemic which has stalled a hitherto burgeoning tourism business. The government introduced the novel "12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp” initiative. This offer to work remotely from paradise in Barbados, has attracted several applicants, including families, and is providing some relief for local hotels and property owners.

    Barbados continues to warmly welcome visitors and investors. The island offers a nurturing environment from which business can excel.

    Click Image Below for Bio


  • 09/14/2020 2:25 PM | Sherry Lee (Administrator)

    Nadia Theodore, Consul General of Canada, bids farewell to Georgia and discusses the bond between Canada and Georgia


    Photo: Nadia Theodore


    As Georgia’s #1 customer for over two decades, our deep, enduring and mutually beneficial relationship is undeniably anchored in trade, but extends far beyond. In fact, in these tumultuous times the strength and stability of the Canada-Georgia bond is encouraging. The Consulate General of Canada, responsible for six Southeastern states, has been here in Atlanta for almost 50 years – a clear sign of the importance of the region to Canada – and more specifically, the importance of Georgia.

    When I arrived here in September 2017 – in the midst of Hurricane Irma – our countries, along with Mexico, were tackling the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), created in 1994 to facilitate free trade and free movement of goods, people and services across the continent. North American economies had nearly quadrupled since its inception, and a revised deal was required to reflect the transformation of the biggest economic region in the world, which encompasses US$22 trillion regional market of more than 480 million consumers.

    The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) which came into effect July 1, 2020, after long and tense negotiations, essentially updates the 26-year-old NAFTA to include new automotive, IP, agricultural, digital trade, environmental and other provisions, while ensuring the partners continue to benefit from being close allies. The new agreement preserves key elements of NAFTA, modernizes provisions to address 21st century trade challenges; reduces red tape at the border; and provides enhanced predictability and stability for workers and businesses across the integrated North American market.

    In an era of growing protectionism, this agreement sets an example of how three highly integrated economies can work together to ensure mutual prosperity; increase market access for all three economies globally; play a substantial role in the alleviation of poverty; and enhance global competitiveness as a regional bloc.

    Bilaterally, the U.S. is by far Canada’s most important trading partner, trading an average of $1.4 million in bilateral goods and services every minute of every day. It is estimated that some 9 million U.S. jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada.

    The numbers show Georgia’s key role in the relationship. Last year, two-way trade between Canada and Georgia was valued at $11.1 billion. In addition, there are 325 Canadian-owned businesses here in the Peach State, employing close to 33,000 workers, and contributing $1.4 billion in salaries.

    The diverse range of businesses include Ontario-based produce giant EarthFresh, which is creating 100 jobs and investing $22 million in a new 140,000 square foot technological packing plant and distribution center in Atlanta; British Columbia forest products innovator Canfor which recently completed a $28 million upgrade of its Moultrie sawmill; Manitoba’s Price Industries, North America’s largest manufacturer of air distribution, heating, ventilation and air conditioning products for the non-residential sector, which has been in Georgia since 1989; Irving Consumer Products, one of North America's top manufacturers of premium quality household paper products, which launched a $400 million state-of-the-art paper plant in Macon last year; and Decostar Industries, a division of Magna, the world’s third-largest auto parts supplier, which employs over 1,000 people at its Carrollton, Georgia plant.

    Given Georgia’s prominence as a hub for advanced manufacturing, historically Georgia-Canada trade has centred on agriculture, forestry, aerospace and automotive. In recent years, there has been considerable rise in trade and investment in tech, fintech, cybersecurity and film, indicative of Georgia’s growth as a leader in the 21st century global economy.

    As my time in Atlanta draws to a close it is clear that while trade dominates the headlines, the true strength of the Canada-U.S. relationship is in the connections between our people – our friends, our families, and colleagues.

    When it comes to defence and security, for example, in Georgia we cooperate on joint training exercises, personnel exchanges, strategic policy discussions, and operations. Whether working with local partners in the lead up to major sporting events, or meeting with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and the Attorney General of Georgia about our countries’ efforts to combat human trafficking and the opioid crisis, the Consulate prioritizes the critical Canada-US defense and security relationship and supports federal efforts through state level activities and cooperative opportunities.

    No two nations depend more on each other for their mutual prosperity and security than the United States and Canada and we collaborate in multiple ways to ensure the safety and security of our shared 5,500-mile-long border.

    The Canadian Coast Guard and U.S. Coast Guard, for example, undertake search and rescue operations together, break sea ice for each other, and protect our common waters; and Integrated Border Enforcement Teams jointly manage air, land and marine environments between ports of entry.

    While travel along the Canada-U.S. border has remained closed to non-essential travel since March 21, because of COVID-19, critical trade between our two countries continues. In fact, the last six months have highlighted how our trading relationship on medical supplies and equipment is complex, integrated and reciprocal. Healthcare supplies and services go both ways across the border as we maintain shared supply chains for essential medical equipment, such as gloves, ventilators, testing kits, and masks. More broadly, our well-integrated supply chains are critical to ensure that North America has the food, fuel, critical minerals, and other goods needed to support our recovery.

    Reflecting on my time traversing Georgia, speaking at various events and connecting with state leaders, executives and many wonderful, everyday people, I was always reassured by this same commitment to working together for our mutual benefit.

    I was particularly inspired by the youth of the Southeast - impressed by their strong vision, community-mindedness and global outlook.

    Buoyed by this global outlook and their own rich and diverse heritage, Southeasterners have been appreciative of the varied facets of Canadian culture and history our office showcases; and entities such as Morehouse College, the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival, Atlanta Contemporary and Out on Film Festival have welcomed some of those talents and brands for cross-border partnerships and businesses.

    My own commitment to community, and to using diplomacy to have conversations that bring us closer together as a society, has led me to prioritize engagement with a wide range of entities such as Georgia Equality, The King Centre, Atlanta Pride, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and many others, in the ongoing work towards reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, the struggle for LGBTQ2+ rights, gender equity, Disability rights and the eradication of Anti-Black racism and all forms of discrimination.

    As I bid farewell to Georgia (for now!), I am proud of the work that we have done to advance the Canada-Georgia relationship, to bring more voices to the table, and to move the needle forward to create the most competitive, successful North American economy.

    Until we meet again, I will always have Georgia on my mind.


  • 08/04/2020 8:00 AM | Sherry Lee (Administrator)

    Christopher N. Smith, Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Denmark, discusses Denmark's long-standing relationship with Georgia.

    Photo: The tall ship Danmark docked in Savannah 2011.

    For a moment let’s travel back in time. The year is 1802. President Thomas Jefferson is the second resident of the White House which was then just two years old. The University of Georgia held its first classes the year before and Athens was a small settlement on the frontier. Many of Georgia’s major cities including Atlanta, Macon and Columbus did not exist. Georgia shared an international border with Florida which was then under Spanish rule. The population of the state of Georgia was approximately 163,000. Amid this back drop the world’s oldest kingdom, The Kingdom of Denmark, elected to establish a foreign mission in the state of Georgia. The Royal Danish Consulate was established on August 18, 1802 in the city of Savannah. Denmark has maintained a consulate in Georgia since that time. It is thus one of the oldest foreign missions in the state.

    William Scarborough holds the distinction of being the first Danish Consul in Georgia. Fittingly he was a shipping merchant as Danish firms to this day are world leaders in shipping and logistics. They still maintain very substantial operations in Georgia today. Consul Scarborough was one of the partners in the company that launched the famous SS Savannah, the first steam ship to cross the Atlantic. The Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum is now located in the William Scarborough house and gardens. It is located in downtown Savannah and well worth the visit.

    The economic ties between Denmark and Georgia are strong. Investment and trade between Denmark and Georgia support over 3,300 jobs in our state. In 2019 US exports to Denmark reached an all-time record high totaling $3.1 billion dollars. Denmark is a founding member of NATO and is a key supplier of military components and equipment used by various branches of the American armed forces.

    Georgia is now the 8th most populous state in America with a population of over 10.6 million. Atlanta has become an international city and is home to the world’s busiest passenger airport. The ever-growing port of Savannah is the 4th busiest in the country. Georgia is home to many Fortune 500 companies and leading global brands. It is thus fitting and proper that Georgia’ s international footprint in commerce, culture and education continues to grow. Such new friendships and collaborations are welcome, but it is also wise to remember ones oldest and constant friends as well. The relationship between Denmark and Georgia has been strong for 218 years and has a bright future. There is great potential to increase investment from Georgia in Denmark and from Denmark in Georgia. Opportunities also exist to increase bilateral tourism, academic collaboration and scientific partnerships.

    Throughout most of Georgia’s history Denmark has been a constant friend and companion. Let us build upon this firm foundation to reach new heights of success for the benefit of all.

    Click on the image below to read more about Honorary Consul General Christopher Smith.



Atlanta Council on International Relations

4780 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Suite 540-165

Atlanta, Georgia 30330


info@atlantacir.org

The Atlanta Council on International Relations is a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization that promotes understanding of international affairs through the free exchange of ideas. The purpose of the Council is to help develop a nucleus of informed opinion leaders on current foreign policy issues.