April 22, 2004
INFORMATION: John McElwain or John Green, (661) 362-3494 or 3684
Conference Illustrates the Benefits of Trade with China
SANTA CLARITA More than 130 people received an insider's view of how to do business with China during College of the Canyons' first "Exploring Business with China: Opportunities & Challenges," an all-day conference held at the Hyatt Valencia's Santa Clarita Conference Center on Wednesday, April 21.
The conference brought together a variety of noted speakers from the worlds of business, government and academia, all of whom agreed that opportunities abound in China, a country that boasts the highest foreign direct investment in the world. The Peoples Republic of China is fast becoming a focal point for businesses and industries seeking to expand their markets and bolster their bottom lines. The countrys GDP (gross domestic product) was estimated to be close to $6 trillion in 2002.
Heading the list of speakers was Consul General Zhong Jianhua, who has served as director general of China's Department of Consular Affairs in Los Angeles since 1999. He noted that although European countries are further along in developing business relationships with China, the United States still ranks as the country's third largest trading partner. Hitting on a theme that consistently arose during the conference, Zhong noted that the single most significant obstacle to trade growth is the cultural difference between the two countries.
Other speakers included Pacific Rim Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Holmes Stoner Jr., who as vice president of URI International in Beverly Hills oversees international business development in major emerging markets and personally manages the China National Tourism account; Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who has represented the Fifth District since 1980 and served as honorary conference chairman; Zhiming Xu, director and chief representative of the Shanghai Foreign Investment Development Board; Lounei Shu, commercial and economic attache for the Department of Consular Affairs in Los Angeles; Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook, superintendent-president of the Santa Clarita Community College District/College of the Canyons; Vance Baugham, regional manager of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.; Rob Guthrie, business development officer of US Export Import Bank; Julianne Hennessey, director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center, U.S. Department of Commerce; John Hoskinson, president of Gruber Systems; Dr. Archie Kleingartner, director of the Global Window Project, UCLA Anderson School of Management; Tim Norris, a partner in Pan Pacific Sourcing; Martin Selander, an international trade specialist from the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Greg Whitney, vice president of business development for the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.
Some of the topics that were covered included securing suppliers of materials and components; the advantages and risks in setting up operations; the market for U.S. goods, tools and machinery, and how to export finished products As a bonus, many participants attended a reception following the event and spoke directly with Chinese and U.S. business leaders involved with trade and investments.
The event's major sponsor was Vital Express. Other sponsors included Gruber Systems, the Hyatt Valencia, the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, PSAV Presentation Services, the Valley Industrial Association, the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, the Western Alliance Group, the SCV Economic Alliance, the Center for International Trade Development, the County of Los Angeles and the City of Santa Clarita.
Additional information on the conference, as well as some of the data presented, is available on the conference's website, located at http://www.chinabusinessconference.com.