Yale University graduate works overnight to promote trade facilitation in Sichuan

Yale University graduate Alexander J. Cohen is a project manager with the Chengdu Administration China (Sichuan) Pilot Free Trade Zone, which is a government organ.

Alexander J. Cohen (left) at work

Different from China’s public servants, Cohen and his colleagues were recommended by third-party agencies during global recruitment activities.

Cohen, majoring in economics, first came to Chengdu in 2010 and worked for a consulting firm for overseas study. Speaking fluent Chinese is his advantage in job hunting.

Cohen expressed his support for China’s globalization during a job interview. “I’m excited to be part of China’s efforts to find a place in economic globalization,” he said to the interviewer.

Last October, he officially became a member of the international cooperation office with the Chengdu Administration China (Sichuan) Pilot Free Trade Zone.

Coordinating investment and cooperation as well as promoting trade facilitation for Chengdu demands Cohen and his co-workers to carry out careful and in-depth investigations.

To prepare for an important meeting, he once worked in the office until four in the morning. Now he is working on a global science and technology park partner plan, which requires frequent negotiations with partners.

“I have 1,422 friends on WeChat and I met most of them at work,” he said.

Cohen works in a group of 14 people who are all in their 30s. They either have studied overseas or graduated from prestigious Chinese universities. “They are very good at English, and their professional competence is impressive,” Cohen said.

A few highlights regarding his co-workers, according to Cohen, include that they are very sensitive to global information, knowledgeable of the latest trends and very efficient.

Li Xue, an official with the Chengdu Administration China (Sichuan) Pilot Free Trade Zone, said the new way to recruit foreign talents is an attempt to the reform and make innovations within the process of introducing talent.

Foreign talents can more efficiently communicate with foreign governments and enterprises that are involved in lots of projects, and they will help produce new ideas that are conducive to international trade, Li said.