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Cablegate: China: Ca Pdas Kirby's Visit to Guangzhou

VZCZCXRO3908
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHGZ #0095/01 0570800
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 260800Z FEB 10
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1411
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1163
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE 0478
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1164
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 0408
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0409
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 0418
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GUANGZHOU 000095

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR CA/FO AND CA/EX
ALSO FOR CA/VO AND EAP/CM
BEIJING FOR EXEC AND CG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CMGT CVIS PREL ETRD BEXP CH
SUBJECT: CHINA: CA PDAS Kirby's Visit to Guangzhou

GUANGZHOU 00000095 001.2 OF 002


(U) This document is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly. Not for release outside U.S. government channels. Not
for internet publication.

1. (SBU) Summary: CA PDAS Michael Kirby, accompanied by MCCA Linda
Donahue (Beijing), visited Guangzhou on February 23-24 for an update
on Consulate General Guangzhou's consular operation, particularly
the growing demand for consular services in the "workshop of the
world," the Pearl River Delta region of Guangdong Province. PDAS
Kirby called on officials at Guangdong's Foreign Affairs Office,
where he thanked them for their continued support for the
construction of the new consulate, reaffirmed U.S. commitment to
facilitate China/U.S. trade and exchange, and inquired about China's
goals to implement green, energy-efficient technology. He also
exchanged views and ideas on the visa process with leading U.S.
business community representatives at a reception hosted by the
Consul General.

2. (SBU) Throughout his visit, PDAS Kirby emphasized the
construction of the new consulate as an example of how the U.S. is
planning for and preparing to meet the growing demand for consular
services. PDAS Kirby highlighted that in 2009, almost half a
million people applied for U.S. nonimmigrant visas in China with a
better than 80 percent approval rate, and that almost 20 percent
were Chinese students going to study in U.S. universities. He also
emphasized that the new electronic visa application system will be
even faster, easier, and more environmentally friendly. The CG and
the Consulate's Agency/Section Chiefs briefed PDAS Kirby, and he
toured the Consular Section's facilities, as well as the site of the
new consulate, scheduled for completion in January 2013. End
summary.

-------------------------------------------
Emphasizing the importance of consular work
-------------------------------------------

3. (U) PDAS Kirby toured the Consular Section's facilities, where
he met with 22 entry level officers (ELO) and 63 locally engaged
staff (LES) to express appreciation and support for their efforts,
and to emphasize the importance of consular work in the Department,
from the Secretary on down. During the meeting with ELOs, he gave
valuable skills-building and career advice, commented on how CA is
seeking to expand employment opportunities for eligible family
members (EFMs), and took note of near-term budgetary challenges and
possible implications for consular work. PDAS Kirby also toured the
site of the new consulate, scheduled for completion in January 2013;
the consular section will feature about 65 public service windows,
about 50 percent more than the 43 windows in the current facility.


--------------------------------------------
Supporting the local U.S. business community
--------------------------------------------

4. (U) At a reception hosted by the Consul General, PDAS Kirby met
with seven leading representatives of the U.S. business community in
south China. PDAS Kirby pledged continued support for travel and
trade, exchanged views and ideas about the visa process, and
explored ways to encourage demand for visas in a growing economy.
In addition to the president of the local American Chamber of
Commerce, U.S. companies represented included General Electric,
Wrigley, Amway, Huntsman, California Travel and Tourism Commission,
and AECOM. The feedback from the business representatives was
positive, as they expressed appreciation for the Consulate's support
for commercial exchanges, as well as the facilitation of visa
services for business travelers to the U.S.

5. (U) The business representatives believe that south China will
continue to prosper economically, and that the number of people able
and qualified to travel to the United States is growing rapidly. In
response to PDAS Kirby's question about why more Chinese people do
not apply for visas despite the greater than 80 percent approval
rate and low wait times, several of the representatives agreed that
there is a gap between perception and reality: Chinese people often
fear losing face in a visa line and/or being refused a visa. PDAS
Kirby highlighted the construction of the new consulate in Guangzhou
as an example of how the U.S. is taking steps to meet this growing
demand for visa services. He also discussed ways in which public
outreach might help to close the perception/reality gap.


GUANGZHOU 00000095 002.2 OF 002


--------------------------------------------- ------
Exploring opportunities for U.S.-China cooperation
--------------------------------------------- ------

6. (SBU) PDAS Kirby met with the Director General of Guangdong
Foreign Affairs Office (FAO), Fu Lang, to assure the FAO of our
continued interest in strengthening mutual support and cooperation.
Fu Lang began the meeting by highlighting the special relationship
China has with the United States as its main trading partner,
stating that one-third of China's trade is conducted with the United
States. He discussed the current economic situation in Guangdong,
noting that the economic growth rate is one percent higher than
growth rates in other parts of China, and that per capita GDP in the
province has risen to US$10,000. Fu Lang remarked that this figure
represented a dramatic increase in just a few years, and that per
capita income will probably continue to rise.

7. (SBU) PDAS Kirby congratulated Fu Lang on Guangdong's economic
success, and pledged continued cooperation and support in
facilitating joint trade and travel. He emphasized that the United
States welcomes Chinese people, noting that the new electronic visa
application system will also make the application process faster,
easier, and more environmentally friendly. He expressed his
appreciation for the FAO's continuing support for the construction
of the new consulate, which will have 50% more consular windows and
new technology designed to improve the visa application process.

8. (SBU) PDAS Kirby expressed his concern about police protection
and judicial fairness for Amcits caught in business disputes in
China. Fu Lang agreed that both countries have an important
interest in the safety and welfare of their citizens overseas, and
the discussion expanded to include other concerns associated with
rapid economic development in China, such as illegal immigrants,
drug trafficking, and Internet scams. PDAS Kirby inquired about
China's plans to implement energy-efficient technology, and Fu Lang
responded that he believes China will take more steps to reduce
pollution by making greater use of solar power and green energy. Fu
Lang also cited the development of public transport, i.e., high
speed railways and metro lines, as ways in which the Chinese
government is working to reduce pollution and alleviate traffic
congestion. Both PDAS Kirby and Fu Lang agreed that there were
growing opportunities for mutual support and cooperation between the
United States and China.

9. (U) This cable was cleared with PDAS Kirby and MCCA Donahue.

GOLDBECK

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