Cherries and Global Trade

This blog post was written by Kelsey Chuang, CISB US Track Student

Keith Hu with CISB students

Keith Hu with CISB students

On March 1, 2019, CISB welcomed Keith Hu, the Director of International Operations for NW Cherry Growers, to share his background, current job responsibilities, and the impact of the trade war on cherry growers in the Pacific Northwest.

The main goal of the night was to understand how the trade war impacts businesses on the ground level. Hu mentioned that it is often difficult to personalize that which is read in the news. His presentation was designed to give perspective and paint a clearer picture of how politics seep into economics and global trade.

The Pacific Northwest has one of the biggest cherry markets, exporting mainly to China, Taiwan, and other Asian countries. However, as the trade war has unfolded, Hu shared that China has been playing a lot of mind games with U.S. companies. Tax fluctuations have caused a massive blow to their cherries, putting them at a price disadvantage to their competitors.

During the question and answer session, CISB students and faculty members peppered Keith with questions about the cherry industry. Keith shared his thoughts on the cutting-edge factory technology, relationships with farmers and the supply chain process. Hu said that the biggest cherry he had ever seen is roughly the size of a golf ball, which generated laughs from the audience.

Hu reminded students that a crucial soft skill he has learned on the job is cold-calling. He encouraged us to not take things personally. He said there will always be challenges and problems to overcome, and it is vital to have passion in order to come up with solutions to deal with these obstacles. This is one of many insights we gleaned from his talk. Hopeful we will be able to apply them to life and work.