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NYC comes out in force to greet Taiwanese group.

With the roar of cranes and bulldozers reduced to a mild puff, New York City's top economic development brass and leading design and construction firms turned out last week to aggressively market American know-how to a Taiwanese delegation.

The Republic of China is planning $185 billion of capital development projects in Taiwan. New York's ailing design and construction industries are eager to get a piece of that business.

More than 50 government officials from seven Taiwanese ministries and private-sector construction executives attended a three-day conference at The World Trade Center sponsored by The New York Building Congress and The Port Authority of New York/New Jersey.

The group was addressed by Mayor David Dinkins, Deputy Mayor Barry Sullivan, New York Building Congress President Louis Coletti, Executive Director of The Port Authority of New York/New Jersey Chief Stanley Brezenoff and others.

The city is lending a hand, a Building Congress spokesperson said, because of the lack of contracts here. It is also expected, he said, that if a New York firm gets a project in Taiwan he will look to other New York firms for his subcontractors.

Principals of leading architecture, engineering and construction firms manned booths to shake hands and display their work to the Far East visitors. Twenty-six firms paid $1500 to take part in this portion of the conference.

The members of the delegation were also given the opportunity to meet individually with the New York firms to get further acquainted and maybe begin preliminary negotiations.

For a number of the old-line firms, the trade show setting was something they had never experienced or had to pursue.

Alan Traugott, principal, Flack + Kurtz Consulting Engineers said: "It's different. We're just starting to think it can be an important part of the business."

Traugott said that Taiwan has "very good potential" and may be easier to penetrate than other Far East markets because their technology is not as advanced as surrounding nations.

Displaying at a booth is also something out of the ordinary for Sing L. Chu of Weiskopf & Pickworth structural engineers, which counts among its credits 1 Liberty Plaza, The Vista Hotel, and The Equitable Center.

By displaying brochures and photos of their past projects, Chu said, he hopes to show the Taiwanese visitors that Weiskopf and Pickworth has skill in both high-rise office buildings and low-rise structures for hospitals and such.

"That's the hook we're trying to use," he said.

The American firms and officials were also addressed by M.H. King, chairman of The China Steel Structure Company, Ltd. and head of The Taiwanese delegation.

Following his address, King said that many of the projects were "targets" and that his "highest" objective was the exchange of business cards so that when they are ready the Taiwanese know who to call and likewise for the Americans.

The Building Congress spokesperson said the conference was designed for just that - to open the lines of communication. But beginning the discussion process was a big step for many of the firms, he said.

"Some companies would not have gone abroad on their own," he said.

Chu shared this expectation.

"I think that's what our aspiration is to at least open some dialogue," he said.

The six-year plan for Taiwan includes airports, roads, mass transit, and housing, as well as industrial, energy, environmental, educational cultural and health care facilities.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Hagedorn Publication
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:New York City
Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Oct 21, 1992
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