The Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Center for Agricultural Trade in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics recently hosted Indonesian Ambassador Mahendra Siregar and his delegation at the Blacksburg, Virginia, campus as part of an effort to engage students, faculty, and administrators in strengthening international ties amid tumultuous trade relations worldwide.

During the visit, Ambassador Siregar delivered an address titled “Indonesia: Achieving Sustainable Economic Development through Partnerships in Commerce and Education,” to an audience of over 100 as the third annual Dean’s Keynote Lecture hosted by the Center for Agricultural Trade, known as CAT.

The lecture focused on the importance of having international trade allies and stressed the harm that the U.S.-China trade war is having.

“Indonesia is not immune to these problems, as Indonesia has been experiencing structural trade deficits with China for the last 30 years,” said Ambassador Siregar.

The rest of the visit focused on building stronger ties between the Indonesian delegation, Virginia Tech, and Virginia industries.

The ambassador and his delegation met with Virginia Tech Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke, Vice President for Outreach and International Affairs Guru Ghosh, and college faculty and administrators to explore opportunities for student and faculty exchanges, including study abroad and online graduate degrees. They also discussed ways to enhance sustainable economic development and growth through commerce, education, and research and technology.

Drawing on Virginia Tech’s longstanding history of partnership with and service to Virginia industries, the delegation also grew its network through meetings with representatives of Virginia’s logging and lumber, horticultural and green house production, wine and viticulture, and tobacco production and handling industries.

“Given the economic strain today’s trade policy environment is placing on Virginia agricultural and forestry industries, the visit by the Indonesian ambassador helped create possibilities for agribusinesses and producers to increase bilateral trade and marketing ties with Indonesia,” said Jason Grant, director of the Center for Agricultural Trade. “We plan to continue these talks with the delegation and to soon implement some of the ideas that came out of this productive visit.”

-          Written by Jillian Broadwell

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