Business, education, and community leaders gathered at the Irvine Marriott November 20 for the 2014 Orange County International Trade Forum. Considered OC’s premier international trade event in 2014,Francisco Sanchez, former Undersecretary for International Trade with the U.S. Department of Commerce, and current Chairman of CNS Global Advisors was the keynote speaker and discussed some of the efforts to promote international trade in local metropolitan areas. He touched on the effort to grant Trade Promotion Authority to President Obama, as well as some of the significant free trade agreements currently being negotiated including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The program included OCBC’s Chief Economic Advisor, Wallace Walrod, who provided an overview on Orange County’s latest export numbers as well as how international trade’s role as an emerging industry and cross-cutting cluster driver is impacting the Orange County economy. Moderated by Chase’s Morgan McGrath, panelists OCBC Board Member Noel Massie from UPS, Bob Bowen from Western Digital, and Richard Swanson with U.S. Commercial Service discussed a variety of topics including Orange County’s position in the global market place, Ex-Im Bank reauthorization, and what Orange County can do to become more attractive for foreign direct investment. CLICK HERE for photos. CLICK HERE to read more about the International Trade Forum. For more information, contact Matt Petteruto, Vice President, Economic Development.
Bowen emphasized that in order for Orange County to remain a magnet for FDI, business incubator programs must expand and local and federal policies should foster FDI activities. Massie spoke to the importance of Congress approving a multiyear extension of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. Swanson expressed that one of the reasons why Orange County is such a successful key player in the global markets is the region’s diversified and well-educated workforce, which harbors employees offering a broad range of ethnic backgrounds and varied skill sets. “It is a small geographical region considering the level of economic weight it carries,” Swanson said. For more information, contact Matt Petteruto, Vice President, Economic Development.