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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis December 2, 2011
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U.S.-China Transportation Dialogue Forges Ahead; APTA Business Member Involvement Encouraged
BY JULIA WALKER, APTA Program Manager-International Relations

While the U.S. and China are thousands of miles apart and celebrate vastly different cultures and histories, we still find commonalities between them, such as transportation challenges in need of innovative and constructive solutions—and APTA is part of the effort to bring the two nations together.

A few years ago, recognizing the necessity of a high-level multimodal exchange to tackle these international issues, the U.S. and Chinese governments established the U.S./China Transportation Forum (TF) during the Fourth Strategic Economic Dialogue in 2008. They are currently in the midst of preparing for the upcoming Fourth Annual TF, Jan. 10-13, 2012, in St. Louis, MO.

In partnership with the Federal Transit Administration, APTA is assisting in the coordination of the Urban Congestion Working Group Workshop, an all-day event Jan. 10 prior to the kickoff of the TF.

While TF originally was a government-to-government dialogue between DOT and China’s Ministry of Transport, industry representatives gathered at previous forums to discuss challenges in the nations’ transportation systems and developments and determine top priorities. These priorities included urban congestion, new railway technologies, innovative financing, transport of hazardous goods, and disaster assistance coordination.

To continually address these priority areas, DOT and the China Ministry of Transport created five Working Groups that meet annually at the TF to collaborate on transportation best practices and research findings in both countries.

Memorandums of Cooperation (MOC) in support of the priority areas were signed between paired cities, including transit systems from San Francisco and Shenzhen; Los Angeles and Beijing; New York and Beijing; as well as by the Mineta Transportation Institute and the China Academy of Transportation Sciences. These MOCs have strengthened the collaboration among certain cities and benefit both countries’ transportation networks as a whole.

But something was missing: U.S. businesses! After the creation of the TF, DOT and the China Ministry of Transport determined that this exchange would not be successful without the influence and participation of the companies that build, finance, manufacture, and supply materials and equipment to transportation systems throughout the world.

Understanding the importance of the private sector playing a role, DOT, through APTA, is encouraging private sector representatives to introduce their products and services during this dialogue.

The Fourth Annual U.S./China Transportation Forum will be led by DOT Deputy Secretary John Porcari and China Ministry of Transport Vice Minister Xu Zuyuan.

Given the current economic difficulty of international travel, this event brings the opportunity for trade and export of U.S. goods and services directly to the “Gateway to the West”—something that U.S. companies interested in business with China should not miss.

For more information, contact Julia Walker.

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