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The first round of the Hinrich Trade Negotiation Simulation was held at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center on Feb. 16, 2019. Around 50 students from different universities in Hong Kong attended the simulation.

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(L-R) Hong Kong America Center Executive Director Glenn Shive and Hinrich Foundation Program Director Alexander Boome give opening remarks,
followed by a keynote speech from US Consul-General to Hong Kong and Macau Kurt Tong.

The event began with opening remarks from Hong Kong America Center Executive Director Glenn Shive and Hinrich Foundation Program Director Alexander Boome. Shive said the simulation was a good opportunity for students to practice their negotiation skills and understand how people think.

In his speech, Boome said that students could make trade predictions with and reach agreement through negotiation, critical and analytical thinking of the issues presented to them. Kurt Tong, the US Consul-General to Hong Kong and Macau, gave a speech on the evolution of trade agreements, current trade issues and how to approach them.

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Teams gather to discuss issues on healthcare, data storage, food standards and fisheries.

Eight country teams were formed and had a one-hour caucus in the morning and the afternoon. During this time, Stephen Olson, Hinrich Foundation research fellow and the facilitator of the event, guided students as they formed their national negotiating priorities and strategies on the issues presented to them.



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Healthcare

For the Japan team, it was essential that nurses understood the local language to provide better service, and since some patients might not understand and speak English. The China team emphasized that nurses working in another country needed to have good communication skills and thereby must pass a language test. This proposal, however, was rejected by the Korea team due to trust issues.



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Data storage

The topic of data storage generated a heated discussion among the teams. The US and Korea teams stated the importance of a free flow of information and questioned the China team on why they kept data. The China team replied they were not trying to control data but just wanted to ensure their citizens’ personal details were protected. The India team backed China on this issue and used the data disclosure issue of Facebook as an example. To this, the US team replied that even though this was the case, they still had not banned Facebook.



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Fisheries

The US team said that developing countries should be concerned about sustainable fishing and that all countries should be concerned. India said industrial fishing – but not commercial fishing – had to be stopped. For the Australia team, developed countries had to offer technological support to developing countries.



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Food standards

The China team wanted to establish their own food standards, which the Japan team supported, since they also had their own. The US and Australia teams agreed that international standards must be set. The Korea team agreed to this proposal but mentioned that trade barriers would make this challenging. The India team said China should consider this proposal to make it easier for China’s exports. The Japan team, however, said they would not set standards for all food types. They suggested running a trial before setting international standards. After a two-minute caucus, the US team announced they would only accept international food standards and asked China if they would accept this. China said they would table this discussion until the next meeting.

Conclusion

After the first round of negotiations, Stephen Olson acknowledged everyone’s hard work. For the next phase of negotiations, delegates must reach an agreement on language tests for nurses; data storage, which was only agreed on by China and India; fisheries subsidies; and the pilot program for food standards.

Read about the final round of HTNS here.

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All the delegates, the Hinrich Foundation team and its partners from Asia Society and Hong Kong-America Center.
About the author – Wang Yue (Tina)
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Tina Ye was awarded the Hinrich Foundation Global Trade Leader Scholarship to pursue her master’s degree in engineering business management at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her goal is to one day promote trade across Asia.