"College of Foreign Trade" A Huge Success...

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The Riverside County Board of Supervisors and the Economic Development Agency Office of Foreign Trade hosted the “Riverside County College of Foreign Trade” at the Riverside County Administration Center. The event is the first in a series of seminars focused around educating local business representatives and government officials about the procedures involved and benefits accrued from establishing or improving overseas trade practices in any of the four foreign trade zones located throughout Riverside County.

John Tavaglione Riverside County Board of Supervisors

I credit foreign trade zones as being “really important in Riverside County in that 10% of our jobs come from the manufacturing of goods that are being exported

Speaking at the event were numerous federal officials involved in varying aspects of the overseas market, including the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce, Holly Vineyard, and Richard Swanson, Regional Director of the United States Department of Commerce. Both federal officials detailed the economic benefits Riverside County has received due to its inclusion of foreign trade zones, and encouraged other manufacturers throughout the region to utilize this incredible resource. Holly Vineyard from the US Department of Commerce noted “California is a bellwether state when it comes to exporting, and Riverside County in particular has taken a lot of strides and efforts to help its companies learn more how to export.” With four foreign trade zones and a fifth in the works, Riverside County currently leads the nation as the most export-friendly region in America. The excellent location and availability of land make the area appealing for large manufacturers to set up shop, most recently welcoming the enormous LEED Certified Skechers distribution plant in Moreno Valley.

Also in attendance at the event were many representatives from local businesses, and service providers interested in developing their ability to conduct foreign trade. President and CEO of Paulson Manufacturing, Roy Paulson, commented on how fortunate these business leaders are to become ‘students’ of the College of Foreign Trade: “As I watched the different speakers come forth…I thought about the bumpy road I had to go through to learn this type of information, and here it is laid out on a silver platter for the other businesses in our county.” The inclusion of four foreign trade zones has incredibly benefited Riverside County’s residents. John Tavaglione of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors credits foreign trade zones as being “really important in Riverside County in that 10% of our jobs come from the manufacturing of goods that are being exported, so that’s about 90 thousand jobs, very significant.”

While conducting foreign trade may appear to be a daunting task for most small businesses, David Josephson of the Export-Import Bank spoke on the procedures and criteria required with garnering foreign direct investment for local businesses–an alternative method to securing financing and insurance when individuals directly involved are unwilling to accept the credit risk of international business. Quelling fears and offering resources for manufacturing employers to utilize in exporting is a top priority of the seminars, as Tavaglione observes despite the fact that “the region has a high unemployment rate, manufacturing continues to grow.”

On top of all the information shared,Riverside County’s “College of Foreign Trade” offers incredible networking opportunities for attendees. Foreign Trade Commissioner for the Riverside County Economic Development Agency, Tom Freeman recognizes the seminar as “the first time we’ve been able to bring leaders in the business community and local government together to educate them about not only the importance of foreign trade, but how they can do a better job of knowing how to use all the tools that are available from the federal government, the county, banking institutions, EB-5 centers, and our foreign trade zones.” Surely Riverside County’s economic success will reverberate throughout California and other areas will follow the lead of the “most foreign trade zone-friendly county in the United States.”

If you are interested in learning how they can help grow your business in the international market, please contact:
Tom Freeman
Foreign Trade Commissioner
951-955-1308
tomfreeman(at)rivcoeda(dot)org.

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