When talk turns to exports, higher education rarely comes up. But it should.

Foreign students, especially those from India and China, are looking for opportunities to study in America, which has what is often considered the best university system in the world.

Aggressively courting foreign students by Maine would make up for lagging enrollments in a state that is facing the demographic challenges of an aging population, with fewer traditional college-age students.

They also help the bottom line, by adding to the number of students who pay out-of-state tuition, which is twice what a Maine family pays, but still a bargain on the world market.

And, if handled the right way, adding to the number of foreign students on the rolls will enrich the experience of Maine students in other ways.

The “right way” is what’s going on at University of Maine Farmington, which has had a 20-year relationship with Bejing University of Technology, which has a two-way exchange program that is ready to grow.

Chinese students want the experience of studying in the United States, and want to work on their English skills. American students are interested in studying abroad and, even if they stay in home, learning Chinese, which is becoming a requirement for those interested in international commerce.

The faculty and staff at Farmington have built a base that all Maine schools can benefit from. This is an export opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.