ICYMI: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: White House hosts economic summit for Asian Americans in the metro area

January 11, 2024

Yesterday, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Co-Chair of White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI), participated in a WHAANHPI Economic Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. At the summit, Ambassador Tai underscored how the Biden-Harris Administration’s economic and trade policies are supporting inclusive growth for local communities, including workers and small and medium-sized businesses.

Read on below:

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: White House hosts economic summit for Asian Americans in the metro area

[Mirtha Donastorg, 1/10/24]

Trade Representative Katherine Tai spoke in Atlanta on Wednesday to highlight the Biden Administration’s work on trade policy, telling the local Asian American community about economic growth in 2024, jobs and how to make policy change.

Tai spoke during a fireside chat at an economic summit hosted by the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI), which she also co-chairs. Officials said the goal of the summit is to connect the local AAPI community with federal resources. 

She said the administration is focused on turning “the trajectory of our trade policies to make clear that trade can be done in a way that supports our workers here at home, but also the small businesses and the medium businesses.”

In metro Atlanta, 15 percent of businesses with employees are owned by Asians, according to an analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of census data.

Last fiscal year, the Small Business Administration backed nearly $467 million in loans to AAPI-owned businesses in Georgia, a 17 percent increase over the previous year.

But Asian entrepreneurs still face challenges accessing capital, according to Dilawar Syed, deputy administrator of the SBA. 

“The reality is a lot of times folks in these communities don’t have access to traditional banks, traditional institutions that would lend,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“You don’t have to fly all the way to Washington, D.C., to engage with the federal government,” said Krystal Ka’ai, executive director of WHIAANHPI. “We are right here in your own backyard.” 

The Atlanta summit was the administration’s sixth since it started hosting them in different cities last year. Georgia is a particularly apt place to host the summit because the state has deep trade relationships with many Asian nations. Seven of Georgia’s top 10 trade partners in 2022 were Asian countries, accounting for about $78 billion of its trade that year. 

Overall, in 2022, Georgia did more than $196 billion in international trade, but most of that was in the form of imports. About $47 billion of Georgia products were sold overseas. Figures for 2023 have not yet been released. 

Six of our top 10 foreign job creators are Korean companies like Hyundai, SK Innovation, Qcells and Kia, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. 

Tai said the state’s reach all the way to Asia reflects a very special mix of industries and expertise here.

“You’re really blessed with that,” she said.