Doing Business in China and Thailand

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Name: Doing Business in China and Thailand
Date: May 7, 2019
Time: 8:00 AM - 11:30 AM EDT
Registration: Register Now
Event Description:

Join Automation Alley, Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center, and a lineup of international business experts for a discussion on the opportunities and challenges of doing business in China and Thailand. This event is open to Automation Alley members and small-to-mid size companies interested in doing business in China and Thailand, and is a precursor to Automation Alley’s trade mission to the region on September 13-20, 2019.

Topics will include the changing dynamics of doing business globally, including manufacturing trends and fiscal and legal reforms. The event will also include case studies and information on industry sectors with a high demand for Michigan-made products, services and technologies. Learn from experts about market entry strategies and how to identify reputable business partners.

Why Attend?

Last year the U.S. sold $120 billion in goods and services to China. Michigan accounted for $3.5 billion of these sales, making China our state’s third largest export market. In fact, U.S. trade with China has accelerated 86% over the last decade, versus 20% growth with the rest of the world.

China’s population is the world’s largest (1.4 billion) and its rapid economic ascent has created a middle-class of 350 million consumers, exceeding the entire population of the United States today. Its middle class is projected to grow to one billion people by 2030. The Chinese place high value on Western products because of their brand recognition, technological sophistication and higher quality. The nation’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) aims to double its GDP from 2010 to 2020. In addition, Beijing’s Made in China 2025 strategic policy is designed to move the nation to the manufacture of higher value-added products. Also, Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative now extends to more than 65 countries located in Asia, Africa, Europe and soon Latin America, too.

Similarly, U.S. export sales to Thailand last year reached $12.5 billion, an increase of more than 30% in the past decade. Michigan companies shipped more than $500 million goods and services there, mostly transportation equipment and information technology.

As the 'Detroit of Asia', Thailand serves as the automotive hub of Southeast Asia. It is also the second largest ASEAN economy behind Indonesia. ASEAN’s free trade agreement provides U.S. companies with access to nine other member states (including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam) with a combined GDP of nearly $3 trillion and a population of 650 million (including 70 million Thais). Thailand’s GDP grew to 3.7% in 2018 and is now the U.S.’ third largest importer.


Jirapat Methaseth, Deputy Director, Thailand Board of Investment

Jirapat Methaseth is the deputy director of New York Office for the Thailand Board of Investment. He has over 10 years of experience in investment promotion in advance manufacturing industries, especially in the electronic sector. As deputy director of the New York Office, Methaseth is responsible for attracting U.S. investors to Thailand. He received his master’s degree from University of Stuttgart in Germany.

Ning Shao, Chief Executive, Michigan China Center

An expert on strategic business development and public affairs, Ning Shao has counseled over 100 organizations on public affairs and business development with China over the past 20-plus years. Shao has worked on a diverse range of projects for corporate clients such as IMAX, BRC Imagination Arts, Discovery Channel, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, IBM, Perdue Farms, Akin Gump, David Wright Tremaine, Goodyear, Lincoln Electric, General Motors, Hershey, Carlson Group, Hughes Network Systems, RTKL International, Reynolds Metals and Coca-Cola.

Shao has also led an Interpublic Group (IPG) Task Force to work on more than 20 Shanghai Expo projects, including the 2010 Shanghai Expo Marketing (Sponsorship) Development Master Plan, the Expo Forum Development Plan and the award-winning global communication campaign supporting Shanghai’s successful bid for World Expo 2010. In 2012, Mr. Shao managed the establishment of the Michigan China Center in Shanghai, and has hosted seven annual Michigan China Missions led by Governor Rich Snyder from 2012 to 2018.

Gianluca Romano, President of Americas, MiC Customs Solutions

Gianluca Romano is the President of Americas for MIC Customs Solutions, an International Trade and Customs software provider. Romano is widely recognized for his experience in international indirect tax and customs matters, specifically in the development, implementation and management of efficient and compliant customs processes. Formerly based in Thailand and Singapore, his experience includes implementations in North America, South America, Asia Pacific and Europe. Fluent and/or conversant in Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai, Romano has participated in regional and global indirect tax and customs projects for various multi-national companies. Romano holds degrees in international relations and economics from Michigan State University. He is a licensed Customshouse Broker, based in the firm's Detroit office, servicing MIC’s customers throughout the Americas.

Jeanne Broad, International Trade Manager, Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Jeanne Broad is the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's (MEDC'S) international trade manager in Southeast Michigan, counselling Michigan firms that wish to begin or expand their international exports. Prior to joining MEDC, Broad worked in government relations for General Motors, including 15 years as the corporate director of international trade policy. She has also held policy and planning positions at the Urban Institute, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Sara Lee Corporation; and served 18 years on the Michigan East District Export Council, a position appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Broad currently represents MEDC on the board of directors of the State International Development Organization and Automation Alley’s International Business Council.

Eve Lerman, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Export Assistance Center, U.S. Department of Commerce/International Trade Administration

Eve Lerman is senior international trade speciat for the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service, Global Automotive Team and is currently an active member of the Auto & Advanced Mobility Team and the Advanced Manufacturing Team. In her daily work, she helps Michigan companies build export sales and develop their international business activities. She handles a variety of industry sectors, including automotive, advanced manufacturing, energy, robotics, industrial products and testing equipment. Lerman was awarded the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal in 2010, the highest award given by the U.S. Department of Commerce, for her work developing innovative service delivery for American businesses. As Global Automotive Team Leader in 2007, she received the U.S. Commercial Service Director General’s Award for Innovation “for exemplary performance resulting in innovative and strategic solutions” for U.S. businesses.


8:00 a.m. Registration and Breakfast Networking

8:30 a.m. Welcome and Introductions
Noel H. Nevshehir, Director of International Business Services and Industry 4.0 Strategic Partnerships, Automation Alley

8:40 a.m. Trade and Investment Opportunities in Thailand
Jirapat Methaseth, Deputy Director, Thailand Board of Investment

9:20 a.m. China Trade Update
Ning Shao, Director, Michigan China Center

10:00 a.m. Break

10:15 a.m. Company Case Study on Doing Business in China and Thailand
Gianluca Romano, President of Americas, MiC Customs Solutions, Southfield, MI

10:35 a.m. Keys to Global Business Success
Eve Lerman, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Export Assistance Center, U.S. Department of Commerce/International Trade Administration

10:55 a.m. State Trade Expansion Program
Jeanne Broad, International Trade Manager, Michigan Economic Development Corporation

11:05 a.m. Open Discussion and Q&A

11:30 a.m. Conference Adjourns




Automation Alley
2675 Bellingham
Troy, Michigan
Date/Time Information:
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
8-11:30 a.m.
Contact Information:
Contact Eriola Fishman at or 248-687-7249
Member Price:  $20
Walk-in Member Price:  $30
Future Member Price:  $40
Walk-in Future Member Price:  $50
Foundation Price:  Free
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