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Verinda Fike, front row, second from the right.
Verinda Fike, front row, second to the right.
By: 
Verinda Fike, Country Manager, China

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend a graduation ceremony for emerging leaders from China’s aviation sector. The ceremony marked the end of four weeks of training under the Air Traffic Management Executive Training program. The training has become a key feature of the U.S.-China Aviation Cooperation Program (ACP), a public-private partnership among the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and 45 U.S. companies. Together, ACP members work to strengthen China’s growing aviation sector by sharing best practices and collaborating on key issues facing the market.

The ACP helps provide market access for U.S. companies – both large and small – and has led to billions in U.S. exports since the partnership began. In addition to driving U.S. exports, the ACP invests in the safety and security of China’s aviation sector, protecting the millions of passengers flying into and out of China every day.

At the graduation, I saw rising Chinese aviation officials present group projects, which required them to collaborate across bureaus and areas of expertise. In the end, that cross-cutting cooperation produced thorough, impressive reports on key issues facing the CAAC. Listening to their presentations, I was amazed by both the high caliber of students and the depth of knowledge they had gained through the program.  I believe that such collaboration reflects the essence of the ACP – when we work together toward a common goal, we are able to accomplish so much more.

I am confident that this momentum will only continue. USTDA, the FAA, and the CAAC are addressing key issues such as reducing flight delays, air traffic management, general aviation and sustainability. I believe the graduates I met will serve as the driving force behind these efforts, leveraging the relationships they developed with U.S. experts during their training and, ultimately, strengthening our partnership.

I look forward to welcoming some of these leaders – and many others – to the U.S.-China Aviation Summit next week. Our seventh Summit will provide an opportunity for key stakeholders to hold substantive discussions on aviation policies, technologies and best practices.  I believe that these areas present tremendous opportunities for U.S. firms, hundreds of whom will attend this important event to learn more about China’s plans to invest over $11 billion on aviation infrastructure in 2016 alone, among other opportunities.  

As I watched the graduates accepting their diplomas, I was reminded of how productive this partnership is. I couldn’t be more proud of our mutual efforts to ensure safe, efficient travel for people in the U.S., China, and around the world.