Trade bill expected to aid academic, business ventures for U, China

Patrick Hayes

With the overwhelming approval of the China trade bill last week by the U.S. Senate, the University stands to benefit significantly from educational exchange programs, scientific collaborations and business opportunities, officials said.
If the University continues to develop its ties with China, the bill — which gave China normal trade status and entry to the World Trade Organization — can help build cultural bridges and foster trade between Minnesota and Chinese farmers and businesses, said Hong Yang, University China Center director.
Previously, China had limited trade status, which was subject to annual review by Congress.
Yang said the China trade bill’s passage means the University can expect an increase in educational exchange programs, an area where the University has already built solid programs.
The University is home to about 1,400 Chinese students — the most of any university in the nation — and 8,000 alumni reside in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. The University also has system-wide active cooperative agreements with 22 Chinese universities.
The recent exchange agreement between the Carlson School of Management and Lingnan College — the University’s partner school in Guangzhou, China — is an example of a program University officials hope to mirror.
The program, expected to begin in May, will bring 20 Chinese executives to the University for a management certificate program. Executives spend half of their time in class and the other half working in the business sector during the five-month program, Yang said.
Programs similar to the Carlson exchange will expand as a result of the trade bill, giving University students more opportunities to study in China, he explained.
In order for Minnesota to increase trade and develop better business ties with China, Yang said University students will need to understand the country’s business practices, culture and management.
“The training program is an excellent way to serve not only as a cultural bridge, but also as a business bridge,” Yang said.
Minnesota businesses and Chinese firms are looking for partnerships the University could help develop, he added.
“It just depends how actively involved we work with them,” he said.
University School of Agriculture Dean Charles Muscoplat said passage of the China trade bill is beneficial for the school and he expects a stronger farm economy and more scientific collaborations with China.
“We need foreign markets in order to have a robust agricultural environment in Minnesota,” Muscoplat said.
The School of Agriculture already has an exchange program with China to provide mainly graduate training for Chinese farmers.

Patrick Hayes welcomes comments at [email protected]