By Greg Hugh, Staff Writer

The topic for the April meeting of U.S.-China Business Connections (UCBC) was Environmental Opportunities In China.

The presentation was made by Steve Riedel, International Trade Representative for Environmental and Energy Technologies, Minnesota Trade Office (MTO).  In his introductory remarks, Riedel noted that he is one of nine International Trade Representatives at the MTO that are focused on different regions and industries. Their duties are to provide export education and services to Minnesota businesses that are interested in exporting their products or services. He further noted that since 2001 there have been trade missions to China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Poland and the Czech Republic. By Greg Hugh, Staff Writer

The topic for the April meeting of U.S.-China Business Connections (UCBC) was Environmental Opportunities In China.

The presentation was made by Steve Riedel, International Trade Representative for Environmental and Energy Technologies, Minnesota Trade Office (MTO).  In his introductory remarks, Riedel noted that he is one of nine International Trade Representatives at the MTO that are focused on different regions and industries. Their duties are to provide export education and services to Minnesota businesses that are interested in exporting their products or services.  He further noted that since 2001 there have been trade missions to China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Poland and the Czech Republic.

delegationweb
Steve Riedel (l) with Governor Pawlenty and other members
of 2005 China Mission Environmental Delegation

As he began his presentation, Riedel acknowledged that China faces a challenge and the history of air, water and soil damage is well documented; which is a good thing!  There is demand for reform coming at the grass roots level and activism is on the rise within China.  There is also acknowledgement at the highest government levels that poor stewardship is costly.

While China has it’s share of environmental problems, it exacerbates the situation by importing much of the world’s electronic waste since most of the world’s e-waste is disposed of in China, especially Hong Kong.  Thus lead, heavy metals and other hazardous materials are major health concerns.

To deal with these situations, the State Environmental Protection Administration was elevated to Ministry status in 2008 and in March, 2009, China introduced new e-waste legislation.

The concern over has also prompted the Chinese government to make water a priority over other sectors and seeks to institute water quality monitoring systems, meters, devices and data management for wastewater treatment.  This has benefited water treatment companies in Minnesota like Aeration Industries of Chaska.

In a recent study by the U.S. Commercial Service, it was noted that, like most developing countries, China is putting the lion’s share of its environmental investment in water and wastewater treatment.  China’s wastewater treatment market is large and expanding rapidly.  Furthermore, the Chinese government has set the goal to establish an advanced environmental monitoring forecast system during the 11th Five-Year Plan period.  Tremendous opportunities are emerging.

Because of this increased interest, the MTO has expanded the Water Technology Export Roundtable program into a quarterly series and will have held its next Roundtable at the end of April, 2009.  These sessions are focused on featuring technical presentations, the latest world-wide opportunities and a chance to compare notes on international sales strategies with Minnesota water professionals.

Another area that holds promise for environmental opportunities within China is pollution prevention and energy efficiency (P2E2).  Again, the U.S. Commercial Service has done studies on these situations and determined that Chinese industry sees the benefits of P2E2 and such programs can be funded by the HK banking system thus offering U.S. businesses opportunities to provide the much needed services and equipment to implement such programs.

The problems that China now faces will provide opportunities in the future.  China uses more than the next three highest-ranked nations in coal-fired plants:  the United States, Russia and India – combined.  This situation ultimately will result in a major concern for green-house gases and the reduction and control of air pollution

Another major area of concern is excessive use of groundwater which has caused land to sink in at least 96 Chinese cities that produced an estimated US$12.9 billion in economic losses in Shanghai alone.  This problem results in a demand for water conservation and reuse technologies.

China will invest a total of nearly US$2 trillion dollars in electricity generation, transmission and distribution over the next 30 years and the Renewable Energy Law enacted in 2006 provides support for solar, wind and biomass technology.

China is already one of the world’s largest manufacturers of solar photovoltaic panels and Despatch Industries, a Minnesota company, provides industrial ovens that are used in such panels.  Also, wind is best positioned to complete with the fossil fuel-based energy.  Although 50 percent more costly than coal, it is still the cheapest renewable.   As cost of emission-control rises for coal, wind is gaining.  A 2005 law in China calls for 70 percent domestic content so China is growing its own wind energy.  Providing atmospheric modeling services is Wind Logics of Minnesota.

In closing, Riedel, discussed the matter of solid waste and recycling and noted that the Renewable Energy Law allows energy generated from municipal solid waste (MSW), otherwise known as garbage, to enter the national power grid by offering some financial incentives.  Again, there is a problem with hazardous and medical waste however Minnesota companies like Renewable Carbon Management of St. Cloud and Harmony Enterprises offer some solutions.

Riedel concluded his presentation by taking questions from the audience and inviting anyone that may wish to know more about exporting their environmental technology or service to contact him at the MTO.

UCBC Next Breakfast Meeting

The May meeting of UCBC will be held Wednesday, May 6, 2009.  The topic will be Navigating China in the Modern Business Environment featuring speakers Melody Zhou and Gabriel Bazma from CIAC Travel.

The UCBC meetings are held at Minneapolis Community & Technical College, 1501 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403.  Please note that the meeting will be held in the Gourmet Dining room so look for directional signs.

The fee is US$20 per person.  UCBC members and college students are free.  Everyone can bring a guest who can be admitted for half price (US$10).   To register, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Jim Smith at 612-8656543.

For free parking at the MCTC Ramp, please mention your name for the UCBC meeting to the parking staff. The MCTC parking ramp is located at 1420 Hennepin Avenue (north side of Hennepin Ave). Additional information on parking: http://www.minneapolis.edu/parking.cfm

 

 

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CHINAINSIGHT (CI) is published monthly ((except July/August and November/December are combined) by China Insight, Inc., an independent, privately owned company started in 2001 and headquartered in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.

CHINAINSIGHT is the only English-language American newspaper to focus exclusively on connections between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Our goal is to develop a mutual understanding of each other’s cultures and business environments and to foster U.S.-China cultural and business harmony.