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Unemployment questions answered

The COVID-19 crisis has required unprecedented action by state government to ensure the safety of

Minnesotans: temporary closure of all restaurants, bars, and other non-essential public businesses, which

will affect hundreds of thousands of workers who may now find themselves temporarily unemployed.

There is also a blog for regular updates.

The Governor signed Executive Order 20-05 to ensure Minnesotans thus affected have access to

unemployment benefits, and to ensure that businesses aren’t required to pay into the system to cover these

additional costs.

Anyone who is applying for UI and has access to the Internet are urged to apply online at the

website, The call centers are reserved for Minnesotans who are digitally disconnected, or who

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Following are some of the most frequent questions DEED is getting about the program.

[ST. PAUL, MN], Sept. 27. 2018 – Hosted by Governor Mark Dayton today at the Minnesota Governor’s Residence, Taiwanese trade officials and business leaders signed a letter of intent to purchase millions of metric tons of soybeans from farmers in Minnesota and Iowa over the next two years.  The Taiwanese Agricultural Trade Goodwill delegation plans to purchase up to $1.56 billion of Midwestern soybeans in 2018 and 2019.  Taiwan is Minnesota's sixth-largest export market, and a key trading partner for the state's agricultural products.

"Minnesota's trade relations with countries around the world, including Taiwan, are critical to helping our farmers sell their products in the global marketplace,” said Governor Dayton.  “With the USDA predicting the largest U.S. soybean crop ever, these export opportunities are vitally important.”

The Taiwanese delegation, led by Taiwan Vegetable Oil Manufacturers Association Chairman Mr. Yau-Kuen Hung, plans to purchase between 3.2 million and 3.9 million metric tons of soybeans between 2018 and 2019, valued at an estimated pledged maximum of $1.56 billion.  Taiwan is a growing consumer of vegetable oils.  Soybean oil accounts for more than 50 percent of the overall vegetable oil market.

"The U.S remains one of Taiwan

 's largest trade partners for agricultural products,” said Chairman Hung.  “The Goodwill Mission plays an important role in strengthening the trade relations between our countries and ensuring Taiwan is able to purchase high quality soybeans grown in Minnesota.”

“We have worked hard to establish relationships with the people of Taiwan,” said Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson.  “Those relationships are paying off in the form of market opportunities for Minnesota’s farmers which are critically important given our current ag economy.”

This afternoon’s visit is the result of a recent trade mission by Minnesota agriculture officials to Taiwan last month, and meetings with Chairman Mr. Yau-Kuen Hung. 

Taiwan and Minnesota have a strong history of agricultural trade agreements.  In January 2013, Commissioner Frederickson led a mission to Taiwan to personally extend an invitation to the 2013 Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission to visit Minnesota and sign letters of intent to purchase soybeans.  Goodwill Missions have been organized by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1998.

Xinhua, Sept. 13, 2017

[BOZEMAN, United States] - "We're very excited that China removed a ban on US beef imports," said Fred Wacker, a third-generation rancher of Miles City in the northwestern US state of Montana, where there're about three heads of cattle for every person.

Two months ago, as part of the 100-day action plan to boost economic cooperation between the United States and China, the two countries reached a deal to reopen Chinese markets for US beef.

China banned US beef imports in 2003 amid concerns over mad cow disease.  After the lifting of the ban, ranchers in Montana like Wacker are eager to tap the huge potential of Chinese markets, which have around 300 million middle class consumers.

However, Montana currently doesn't have a large processing plant to handle beef exports to China.  Most US meat producers that have been approved to export beef to China are located in the Midwestern states of Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas.

A no-nonsense woman interrupted a wedding ceremony.  She marched up to the bride who was about to take her vows, yanked the bride’s nose and ears, grabbed her jaw and peered into her mouth, much like inspecting a cow for purchase.  

Before giving the look of approval, the older woman eyed the bride’s cleavage, which caused the younger woman to cover up her breasts instantly.  At the end of the “inspection,” an Audi cruises along with a male voiceover stating, “Important decisions must be made carefully.  Only with official certification can you be rest assured.”

The older woman is presumably the groom’s mother, the setting, a commercial for secondhand Audis in China.

The commercial had been airing in movie theatres and online for a few months, but the online firestorm started only on July 18.  That day, nearly half a million people mentioned “Audi second hand car" on WeChat.  By mid-day July 20, more than 300,000 Weibo users had checked on “Audi second-hand car ad.”  

After restoring full diplomatic relations with Cuba in December 2014, the Obama Administration has been striving to cultivate normalization between the two countries.  The president visited the island nation in March – the first sitting U.S. President to do so in 88 years.  A year earlier, a high-level U.S. delegation also visited to discuss telecommunication and Internet infrastructure and equipment, with hopes of playing a major role and profitable contracts in the Cuban wireless market.  

Gallant efforts, but no cigars!  The Chinese are already a few steps ahead. 

Cuba turned to China for its Internet connectivity and equipment, at least in the short foreseeable future.  U.S. telecommunications companies also may have been given the cold shoulder because the U.S. had historically tried to undermine the Castro regime in that area.  China’s President Xi Jinping visited in July 2014 and signed 29 bilateral agreements in areas of finance, agriculture, industry, telecommunications, oil and energy.  

Besides, China and Cuba have much in common: both are communist countries; both are at a critical point in terms of reform and development.  The two countries have witnessed rapid growth of economic and trade ties in recent years.  In fact, Cuba had increasingly courted Chinese trade and investments to shore up its fragile economy.  China has been Cuba’s second-largest trading partner since the 1990s.  (The number one spot belongs to Venezuela.)

By Zhang Chunyan, China Daily , August 18

Depreciation of China's currency offers opportunities for economies in Europe

Last week's depreciation of the yuan stoked fears that European exports to China could be hit.  As the euro and the pound strengthened, concerns started to grow that companies selling goods to the second-biggest economy in the world would see their trading margins shrink.

By Pang Zhongying. China US Focus, April 1 

It is quite unexpected that so many developed Western nations have joined other Asian nations in an enthusiastic response to China’s Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, an initiative that calls for the establishment of a multilateral financial institution to assist in infrastructure construction across Asia.  The China-threat-theory-addicted Western media once again became excited, alleging that the development “signals the end of the American century and the inception of an Asian century” and that “China is enjoying its own Bretton Woods time.”

 By Chang Wang and Joe Pearman, contributors

Editor’s note: Most business articles written these days that focus on China concentrate on doing business in China; they discuss the country’s regulatory scheme, operational protocols, or business etiquette.  This conversation instead focuses on doing business with China and the Chinese people, describing some of the ins and outs of interacting with Chinese individuals or firms in the contexts of cross-border communications and negotiations.  Through this conversation, the authors hope to help the business community become aware of the miscommunication that stems from the “parallel universes” the American and the Chinese inhabit, to expose the hidden rationales underscoring the official narratives of Chinese history, and to reveal cultural and linguistic misunderstandings that frequently occur during the process of finding “common ground.” 

For the purpose of this conversation, “China” and “Chinese” are narrowly used: “China” refers to mainland China, not including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan; and “Chinese” refers to the Han ethnic people who live in mainland China.

Chang Wang, a native of China, is the chief research and academic officer at Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals.  Joe Pearman, a native Minnesotan, is an undergraduate student majoring in business at the University of Minnesota. 

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