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OC World Trade Week Draws Professionals and Dignitaries from the Region, World

Monday, May 22, 2017

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More than 400 business professionals, potential exporters, and prominent leaders from throughout Orange County and the world gathered at the Irvine Marriott on May 18 for the half-day, information-packed 2017 Orange County World Trade Week Breakfast & Forum (OCWTW) to learn about trends in international trade, insider tips, and resources that are available to those who are interested in getting started or expanding their export business.

“The U.S. is a global marketplace and leaning more toward that because consumers throughout the world want American products and they are willing to pay for them. International trade builds our economy because it opens up the market with more products,” said Guy Fox, chairman emeritus, District Export Council (DEC) of Southern California. “Businesses should consider exporting. Here to help is the DEC [SoCal] with 35 high-level executives with experience in international trade. They can help guide small- and medium-size businesses through the particulars of the export business process.”

Numerous other organizations offering export support and services were on hand in the vendor marketplace (listed at the end of this story) providing forum attendees the opportunity to ask questions and take home informative materials. As CTC Global COO and DEC vice chair Marv Sepe remarked, those organizations “represent hundreds if not thousands of trade resources in Orange County.”

In separate welcoming remarks, Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bryan Starr and Irvine Mayor Donald Wagner referenced the influence the City of Irvine and the Chamber has on economic development in the region, with its innovation clusters and businesses that engage in international trade, and its central location with proximity to major transportation hubs and ports.

Among others in attendance were consuls general from Cambodia, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom; representatives from Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Congresswoman Mimi Walters’ office; and Garden Grove Mayor Steve Jones, Artesia Mayor Ali Sajjad Taj, and Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox (no relation to Guy Fox).

“As we expand even more into a global economy, we need to focus more on international trade. With Irvine’s superb tech, biomedical, pharmaceutical, and education sectors and our sound infrastructure, we’re well poised to move ahead in the global market,” Councilmember Fox said. “The Greater Irvine Chamber has put together all these different groups and pieces [at OCWTW], which is important, particularly when you’re laying the groundwork for the expansion of international trade in the global economy.”

Headlining OCWTW was Barry Draskovich, group vice president, Program and Contract Management, Parker Aerospace. An expert in the challenges of doing business globally, Draskovich shared his perspective on todays’ trade environment and what it takes to successfully export in today’s world economy as well as his practical experiences opening new markets and sustaining contracts and relationships.

Citing Orange County’s power in exporting—it exports more than does 25 states in the nation—Jim Mayfield, director of the Orange County U. S. Commercial Service, Department of Commerce, presented an overview and forecast of trade in Orange County.

Closing out the program, a panel discussion, Export Success Stories, moderated by Linda DiMario, vice president of Economic Development & Tourism, Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce, featured Robb Dorf, founder & CEO of PureFit, Sharla Marocchi, export manager for Grandma Lucy’s pet food, and William Edwards, CEO of Edwards Global Services. The panelists shared their experiences in such matters as cultural norms, product marketing in foreign countries, logistics, and regulatory requirements.

Helping to allay regulatory hurdles, the Greater Irvine Chamber provides official verification for thousands of Certificates of Origin annually, a service that few other organizations can administer. These international trade documents certify that goods in a particular export shipment are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured, or processed in a particular country. According to the International Chamber of Commerce, countries worldwide consider the origin of imported goods when determining the duty that will be applied or, in some cases, whether the goods may be legally imported at all.

The Greater Irvine Chamber is committed to supporting companies that export as well those that are interested in exporting. In evidence of that, OC’s premiere trade event, OCWTW, which is only in its third year, has continued to grow.

“The Greater Irvine Chamber is doing a great job supporting business and international trade,” Guy Fox commented. “Orange County World Trade Week started with about 100 people; today there’s more than 400 people here. That’s a huge statement.”

Awards presented during the program:

  • Exporter of the Year: Technologent
  • Partner of the Year: Rima Nashashibi, Nashashibi International Consultants
  • John Colvin Memorial Scholarship: Grant M. Joyce, Corona del Mar High School; Veronica Luna, Santa Ana High School
  • Women in International Trade OC Scholarship: Genesis Lovo, Santa Ana College; Maryam Shahkaramifard, Cal State Fullerton


Partner organizations supporting OCWTW include: Small Business Development Center; Orange County Small Business Development Center; Small Business Administration; California Center for International Trade; U.S. Commercial Service, Export Assistance; Ex Im Bank; Women in International Trade OC; World Affairs Council of OC; So Cal Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals; SCORE Orange County; Orange County Association of realtors; Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; OC Iranian American Chamber of Commerce; Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce; Hong Kong Association of Southern California; MAPLE Business Council – Canada; WATCH - US Western American Turkish Chamber of Commerce; Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce; British American Business Council of OC; Nashashibi International Consultants, LLC United Nations Association of Orange County; Wells Fargo; Mercatura Global; GBC International Bank; Regal Court Reporting; Parker Aerospace; Lee & Associates; Consulate General of Canada in LA; Korean American Chamber of Commerce; and California Manufacturing Technology Consulting.

Sponsors for OCWTW include: Champion Sponsor UPS and Advocate Sponsor Edwards Lifesciences and HSBC Bank. Supporter Sponsors include returning sponsors Customs Now and IRA Capital, joined by City of Garden Grove, India Global Advisors, and District Export Council. The Port Sponsor is Port of Los Angeles, Trade Connect.

2017 Orange County World Trade Week Photos.

Category: Chamber News

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