My written statement to the Oregon Senate Interim Committee on Business and Transportation:
Dear Senator Beyer and members of the Senate Interim Committee on Business and Transportation,
On your committee meeting agenda for 9/24/18 is “International Traded Sector Overview.” Please consider the following in committee discussions on that topic.
Consider the 9/17/18 NY Times article headline:
President Trump, according to this article, “escalated his trade war with Beijing on Monday, saying the United States would impose tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods and was prepared to tax all imports.”
His purposes, as described by the article’s authors Jim Tankersley and Keith Bradsher, are as follows:
White House officials said on Monday that China could win relief from the tariffs by acceding to the administration’s trade demands, including allowing American companies greater access to the China market and dropping its requirement that American companies hand over valuable technology to Chinese partners.
I am not a fan of tariffs nor trade wars, but I do think the U.S., and Oregon specifically, could and should have a much more aggressive, effective trade offense towards China. And a significant component of that offense should be an Oregon workforce with more Chinese language skills and experience in the China market.
Currently, Oregon has five public Mandarin dual language immersion programs with a total kindergarten enrollment capacity of about 198, or one-half of one percent of all Oregon kindergarteners. Oregon could fund startup grants of $100,000 each for new, additional Mandarin immersion programs.
Oregon, shamefully, has no paid public high school study abroad programs.The study abroad program organization ASSE has high-school-year-abroad programs to over two dozen countries. ASSE offers a high school year in China for $9,200 fee. It covers tuition, room and board with a family, and international transportation. $9,200 is $3,319 less that the annual 2016 Oregon per pupil spending of $12,519 cited by the National Educational Association. Oregon can save funds by sending some high school students to study abroad in China. There is no financial reason not to fund high school study aboard programs. Two ways to do so would be (1) to allocate funds for a state level program as a strategic priority and (2) to legislate permission for local school districts to use State School Fund money to send students abroad.
Please take the appropriate steps to develop an Oregon workforce with significant knowledge of China and Chinese languages.