Wednesday, April 29, 2009

From Seattle to DC and Back (Part 8)

During my time in Washington D.C. at The Washington Center for the US-China Bilateral Trade Internship Program I have been exposed to many new facets of the US-China relationship, trade issues, and future career and learning objectives. Interning at the Department of Commerce has been a rewarding experience not only from what I have learned by answering exporters’ questions but also from the staff in my office. Through this I have come to understand the exporting and trade process in a concrete and practical sense rather than the abstract, theoretical, and vague sense I had from coursework at university. The trade and exporting process involves multiple steps and requires patience and diligence on part of the importer and exporter; this trading process is not clear cut but the practicality of this internship has given me issues to consider in an ordered process rather than just a floating mess of terms and processes that I had from university coursework. Beyond working with practical aspects of exporting I have also worked on various projects with the China Business Information Center (China BIC). These include website maintenance such as subtitling Chinese market brief videos so that they are compliant with federal regulations and creating a sitemap for the China BIC so that pages on the site are easier to find in lists results on search engines. In addition to this I have also made export volume data for China and India that was included in a presentation at a trade expo in Oklahoma City, OK. Furthermore, a fellow intern and I wrote and researched an article that will be published in an online trade journal for the infrastructure industry on China’s stimulus package and business opportunities that exist.

Recently I attended a trade conference and exposition hosted by the US Export and Import Bank. During this conference I was able to gaining a better understanding of all the different businesses involved in this part section of the global business process. Though most businesses were specializing in financing and risk insurance, both public and private companies, also represented there were embassies from a variety of African nations and construction equipment exporters. From this I get the impression that focusing on infrastructure and investment in African will grow soon as I already know that both the US and China have been encouraging investment in Africa.

Consistently during the internship I have been attending events around Washington DC at different institutes and think tanks regarding issues dealing with trade and China. Though it was my intention to write briefs for a majority of these this did not happen as other projects to precedence. Though I did write one brief on an event I went to at Center for Strategic & International Studies on green technology implementation methods in China. I wrote this brief as it dealt directly with my internship in finding market niches in China for US companies, so it would be of interest to the China BIC. This article “Getting the Dragon to go Green” was also submitted for the US-China Bilateral Trade Program Newsletter “Mei-Hua Connection.”

While in Washington DC I have had many opportunities to gain a further understanding of American history. In the DC area there are many interesting things in the city and surrounding area relating to the Civil War. What I found interesting is the two tones of the Washington Monument as construction was halted during the Civil War but that the Capital Dome was continued during the war which required enormous amounts of metal that were needing for arms to fight the war. This continuation in construction of the dome was obviously for morale and symbolic purposes during the war than for practical reasons. Even in the city of Rockville where I am currently living there are monuments and markers for the civil war, I find this interesting as I don’t think of the war taking place this close to the Capital.