The Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade (SIFT) has joined the Virtual Institute as a second affiliate member in China, bringing the number of network university members to 60.
SIFT's interest in Vi membership emerged in connection with their selection as one of the 15 holders of the WTO Chairs. A first meeting to discuss their participation in the Vi took place during the WTO Chairs launch in May 2010 and was followed by two visits to UNCTAD of high-level delegations led by SIFT's presidents in September 2010 and April 2011.
Founded in 1960, SIFT has developed first-class expertise in international business, as well as international economics and trade, and delivers a range of undergraduate and graduate programmes in international trade, finance, international law and international business. Some of these programmes are offered in cooperation with foreign partners. The cooperation with the WTO has resulted in the development of a number of WTO-related courses. SIFT also provides extensive training in foreign languages (English, French, Japanese) which are essential for the successful participation in international trade.
Centered on international trade, finance and business, SIFT has engaged in research projects and published papers in a number of related areas, such as WTO rules, trade relations between China and other countries, foreign trade policy, foreign investment, competitiveness, industrial clusters, innovation, e-business, stock exchange, futures markets, South-East Asia financial cooperation, exchange rates, and international commercial arbitration. Most recently, research activities have also dealt with the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, trade policy reviews and CGE/GTAP. The Institute has established cooperation with relevant government bodies which frequently use its research outputs in their work.
The main counterpart of the Vi at SIFT will be the School of WTO Research and Education which hosts the WTO Chair. The participation of the university in the Vi will be coordinated by Lei Zhang, Dean of this School. Zhang holds an LLM (intellectual property) and a PhD in economics. He teaches courses on the economics of the WTO, trade in goods and TRIPS. His research interests and publications cover industrial development and policies, anti-dumping, FDI, banking, and regulation.
He will be joined by 17 colleagues from the School of the WTO Research and Education (3 colleagues working on CGE/GTAP, trade in goods, TRIPS, dispute settlement), the Management School (2 colleagues; marketing), the Tourism and Event Management School (5 colleagues; exhibition participation, event and services marketing, tourism and hospitality services, tour guides, management of congresses and meetings), the Finance School (4 colleagues; international finance, risk management and insurance, finance engineering, corporate finance, securities analysis, business ethics), and the International Business School (3 colleagues; e-commerce, web marketing, logistics, supply chain management, international economics).
SIFT has been seeking to increase its international links and integration into the global educational landscape. To this end, it has concluded cooperation or student exchange agreements with more than 50 universities worldwide, and applied for participation in the WTO Chairs programme. It hopes that the cooperation with the Virtual Institute and its members will help them further strengthen their curricula and research, increase their students' understanding of the international community, and establish international contacts with Vi members to collaborate on faculty and student training and curriculum development.