When we visited the Port of Virginia earlier this semester, we learned that one of the largest imports to Virginia from Asia is cars. We wanted to understand this industry a little more in-depth so we were lucky enough to be able to arrange a tour of a Volkswagen factory outside of Shanghai. The facility is a joint-venture between Volkswagen and a Chinese automobile company. The up-close tour through the different manufacturing buildings was very eye-opening, and gave us insight into the robotics and automation used in the industry. Throughout this course we have tried to focus on a few products that involve Virginia and China and work to understand them from all angles. After seeing all the cars off-loaded in Norfolk, it was great to see the production side – and to learn more about the role joint ventures play in international trade.

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