By Cynthia De Castro/AJPress
LOS ANGELES – Asian American business owners in Southern California representing 10 Asian nations formally signed a collective agreement in a historic ceremony May 28 at The Mercury in the heart of Koreatown in Los Angeles.
The presidents of the ten members of the newly formed Asian American Chamber Association who signed the agreement are Edward Tan (Cambodian-American Chamber of Commerce), Chester Chong (Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles), Waqar Ali Khan (Council of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce), Leo A.Maranan (Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of San Fernando Valley), Ted Wakao (Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California), Chang Y. Lee (Korean American Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles), Dashdorj Dugar (Los Angeles Mongolian Association), Esther Wee (Singapore American Business Association of Southern California), Sommai Patamakanthin (Thai Chamber of commerce at Southern California), and Zahangir Sayem (US Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce).
The Asian American Chamber Association was established four months ago in January 2008 when representatives from the Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai chambers of commerce in Southern California organized themselves together to maximize their influence and expand their economic opportunities.
Last Wednesday, the six new members joined the original four and collectively represented tens of thousands of mostly immigrant entrepreneurs in Southern California from Asia.
The affair’s emcee, Peter Jung, Vice President of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles, reported that the association first started with “friendship” golf tournament two years ago. They then saw the need for the Asian American entrepreneurs to form an association which would seek ways for economic cooperation through the sponsorship of joint trade and business seminars, cultural events, field trips and other activities.
The president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Gary Toebben, welcomed the new association and congratulated the new members. “This association is for the betterment of your businesses, your communities and the nation, as a whole,” Toebben said.
Also on hand to congratulate the new organization and lend his support to the Asian Americans was LA Deputy Chief Terry Hara, the highest-ranking Asian American LAPD Officer. Hara said he looks forward to the growth of the AACA so they can have a stronger voice in the community for the common good. “Congratulations to all of you for this historic event as Asian Americans partner together so business can continue and thrive in the city,” Hara said.
The agreement that the Asian American businessmen signed called for the members’ “cooperation and support in all manner possible in community, cultural and commerce functions, promoting presence and involvement for such ventures with the exclusion of international political undertakings”.
Leo A. Maranan, who owns American Healthcare Services and is president of the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of San Fernando Valley told the Asian Journal that his organization is proud to be a part of the new Asian American Chamber Association. “It’s an honor for us in the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce SFV to have been invited by the steering committee. Since we are minorities here in this country, it is good for us Asian Americans to organize ourselves into one body so we can have more voice in Southern California,” Maranan said. Other members of the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce who attended the affair were FACC Marketing Director Matteo Fernandez of Mabuhay Media, FACC PR Director Maridy Masicat of Travel Style, Berwin Salazar of Data Validators Inc.and Charina Carrera of The Asian Journal.