May 9, 2023

Scottsdale, Arizona

US Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai  Meets with Business Leaders at ACEL for AAPI Small Business Roundtable

On Thursday, May 4 – As part of the Office of the United States Representatives (USTR) outreach initiative, Ambassador Katherine Tai made a stop in Arizona, calling for a special AAPI Small Business Roundtable with Asian Corporate and Entrepreneur Leaders (ACEL) business and community leaders. Also present was Administrator Isabel Guzman with the US Small Business Administration. The meeting aimed to foster dialogue, address concerns, and explore opportunities for collaboration between the AAPI business community and the Office of the United States Representatives.

Ambassador Tai expressed her gratitude for the AAPI business leaders’ participation and highlighted the importance of their contributions to the U.S. economy. Community business leaders acknowledged the need for increased representation and advocated for policies that promote diversity and inclusion. The roundtable was significant to Arizona  AAPI leaders as just a few days prior in Washington D.C., Ambassador Tai had opened this year’s 2023 White House Forum on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders with remarks that included strong AAPI support.

Key Attendees were Jason Wong, Founder & CEO of Asian Corporate & Entrepreneur Leaders; Rodney Hu, Serenus Global; Matthew Hum, United We Cloud; Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona; John Lee, president Chinese Chamber of Phoenix and Pacificpan Construction; Yong Lee, REV77; Jack Liu, Procare Portal; Jenny Poon, HUUB and CO+HOOTS; Jean Seo, Evolue Skincare Inc., and Khamsone Sirimanivong – clothing designer and president at AZ Costume Institute.

“Having this roundtable during AAPIH month and facilitating a discussion at state level was a tremendous opportunity for our business community to be part of this important dialogue. I want to thank Ambassador Tai and Administrator Guzman for inviting our business community. This is just the beginning – we hope to continue this conversation.” added Jason Wong, executive director ACEL.

Trade Policies and Opportunities

The discussion revolved around trade policies impacting AAPI businesses and the potential for increased trade opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. Ambassador Tai provided insight into the administration’s trade priorities and efforts to promote fair and inclusive trade relationships. AAPI business leaders highlighted specific challenges they face in accessing markets, including trade barriers concerns.

Small Business Support and Economic Recovery

The round table focused on strategies to support AAPI-owned small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants discussed the importance of equitable access to financial resources and technical assistance for AAPI entrepreneurs. Ambassador Tai shared updates on the USTR initiatives to aid small businesses and emphasized the importance of collaboration between public and private sectors.

The round table concluded with a commitment to continue collaboration and open lines of communication between AAPI business leaders and the USTR. Ambassador Tai acknowledged the valuable input shared by the AAPI business community and assured her commitment to advocating for their interests. AAPI business leaders expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to engage with high-level policymakers and their commitment to contributing to the economic growth and prosperity of the United States.

“I am so grateful for the State’s interest and support of AAPI business owners –  listening to our problems on the ground and providing not only their support and resources, but also their knowledge and insight. As small businesses we often feel neglected to fend for ourselves, and it was reassuring and heartwarming to see two women who respect each other deeply working together to reassure us that our concerns matter. I hope in the future there will be conventions where any small business owner can ask them questions in a larger setting.”, stated Jean Seo, Founder and CEO of Evolue Skincare Inc.

Overall, the AAPI Small Business Roundtable served as a platform for constructive dialogue and collaboration between AAPI business leaders and the government. The meeting highlighted the importance of diverse perspectives and the need for policies that promote inclusivity and equitable opportunities for the AAPI business community. More info on the Office of the United States Representatives is here: You can also read Ambassador’s full remarks at the White House Forum here:

ACEL is a non-profit organization providing Asian American professionals opportunities to work together to enhance Asian American leadership. ACEL hosts leadership chapters in six cities as well as three collegiate chapters. ACEL offers AAPI youth a mentorship program and an annual leadership conference in August open to the community. Visit ACEL for more information.

For Media inquiries, please contact Khamsone Sirimanivong, Board of Directors, Public Relations at ACEL at  or 602.486.3461.

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