University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service second-year student Connor Donovan is serving as a research analyst for the United States Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, this fall. Donovan arrived in Beijing in late September and began work on October 10.
Donovan’s work includes studying the latest U.S.-China trade friction and its impact on U.S. companies and entrepreneurs and recommend ways the U.S. government may mitigate negative effects of higher import tariffs.
He will also help identify trade barriers to U.S. exports to China, analyze the impact of these barriers, and work with Foreign Commercial Service Officers and other trade diplomats at the Embassy to assist U.S. companies, especially small- and medium-sized exporters, with overcoming such barriers through commercial diplomacy and trade promotion activities. These activities may include, among others, trade missions, single-company promotional events, and matchmaking between U.S. companies and potential Chinese private sector business partners.
“I have had the opportunity to take on several projects as they have arisen, including taking notes during U.S.-China Foreign Commercial Service consultations or escorting guests in and out of the embassy during special events,” Donovan said. “However, day-to-day I have primarily been focusing on a larger research project related to fair trade between the United States, China, and the rest of the countries involved in the World Trade Organization (WTO).”
The U.S. Commercial Service, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, is an official Foreign Service agency, with offices in 65 major global markets and across the United States, including in Arkansas. Among its main goals are to increase U.S. economic growth and job creation through promoting U.S. exports and facilitating private foreign direct investment into the United States.
Donovan spent the summer of 2017 in France working with CESi Engineering School to help plan for the creation of a technopôle – a center of high-tech manufacturing and information-based quaternary industry – in the city of Angoulême.
He graduated from Little Rock Central High School in 2013 and UA Little Rock in 2017 with a degree in international business with a Chinese concentration. In addition to being voted the university’s Student Government Association President as a senior, Donovan was the recipient of the Whitbeck Memorial Award in May 2017 as the top graduating senior. He helped to establish the Arkansas Association of Students, an organization representing SGAs for public universities and community colleges in Arkansas.
“My internship experience has solidified my overall desire to pursue some sort of career that will enable me to build intercultural relationships with and between others,” Donovan said. “As I have experienced through my internship here at the embassy and through projects I have witnessed or have been a part of back in Little Rock, lives can be enriched and beneficial outcomes can be reached for all when we actively and passionately pursue building cross-cultural communication, understanding, and collaboration.”