"My work will help bridge trade between the West and the East"

Sharon Zhengyang Sun
Trade Policy Economist for Canada West Foundation
Alumni MSc International Business (2013-2014)

Alumni's interview Sharon Zhengyang Sun

Why have you chosen to dedicate your life to research to explore on the relationship between the global markets, civil society and States?

Sharon Zhengyang Sun (S.Z.S.): I am currently the Trade Policy Economist for Canada West Foundation in Calgary Canada and my research focuses on international trade policy with China and the Asia Pacific.

Following my invaluable experience through UPF’s one-week business trip and my internship with VOKA Antwerp Chambers of Commerce, I was exposed to many kinds of international business from all sectors. Coupled with my subsequent business analytics experience in Belgium and my PhD in International Economic Policy at Carleton University, I decided to pursue a more macro-level business and economic focus in order to help more business, industries and government professionals to better understand China and the Asia Pacific market environment as well as trade opportunities. China’s purchasing power and the speed of its post-COVID19 recovery signals that China will continue to be one of the largest customers in the world contributing to 21.7% of global economic growth.

As a China specialist in Canada, and hopefully one day in North America and Europe, having the ability to provide empirically sound research and analyses that informs businesses and governments drives the interest and dedication to my work.

My work on China has led me to testify in front of Canada's House of Commons' Special Committee on Canada-China Relations

What kind of social impact do you think your project has?

S.Z.S.: My work on China has led me to testify in front of Canada’s House of Commons’ Special Committee on Canada-China Relations along with other North American specialists in this field. My PhD dissertation focuses on understanding Chinese trade agreement behaviour (effectiveness and motivations) in order to inform governments on Chinese trade engagement strategies. I work and communicate directly with the Canadian and foreign governments as well as with industry and business leaders, sharing with them evidence-based result to enhance their China competence in international trade. I’ve presented my work across media platforms including radio, newspapers and magazines, as well as traditional academic journals. By providing a better understanding of China and the Asia Pacific, I believe my work will help bridge trade between the West and the East. In a post-COVID environment where the global trading system is decoupling and many key economies in the world are looking inwards, I believe my role as a researcher and as a Trade Policy Economist plays a vital role in informing and continuing to promote trade and international cooperation.

Which are your main career challenges?

S.Z.S.: One of my key career challenges right now is to continue and finish my PhD work while working professionally. Balancing full time work and school is difficult and requires determination and an excellent management of time. When I was interviewed as the student ambassador for UPF Barcelona School of Management during graduation in 2014, I noted that I wanted to pursue my PhD one day. Having realized this dream, I aim to finish it and achieve it in order to pursue my interest and dedication in my work. I hope my work will lead me to be a distinguished fellow for key universities and think tanks around the world that focuses on China such as Harvard University, Columbia University, Asia Pacific Foundation (in Canada), Oxford as well as UPF-BSM.

I continue to be grateful today for all the support that the UPF-BSM faculty and professors have given my team and I 

How was your experience at UPF-BSM and how has studying here helped in your professional career?

S.Z.S.: As I have mentioned earlier, my experience at UPF-BSM led me to my career path today. Furthermore, as the student initiator that introduced UPF-BSM to the HultPrize Social Entrepreneurship competition, UPF-BSM fully supported my team and I to compete in Dubai. This invaluable experience expanded my international perspective and allowed me to develop a strong network with like-minded young professionals from around the world –many of them I still keep in touch with today. The international competition raised my awareness to issues present in developing countries, while exposing me to fresh ideas and potential solutions. I continue to be grateful today for all the support that the UPF-BSM faculty and professors have given my team and I to participate in this unforgettable experience. I am also very proud and honoured that UPF-BSM has continued to support students to participate in this competition each year.