United States Trade Representative Ronald Kirk Highlights the Importance of Global Trade at 83rd Annual World Trade Week Kickoff Breakfast_copy

Event hosted by the L.A. Area Chamber brings together more than 500 business and civic leaders to commence national observance of World Trade Week

May 7, 2009 8:00 am

LOS ANGELES, CA – United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ronald Kirk today joined Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, University of Southern California (USC) President Steven Sample and more than 500 business executives and members of the diplomatic corps to kick off the national observance of World Trade Week at the 83rd annual breakfast event hosted by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.  During his remarks, Ambassador Kirk highlighted the importance of global trade to the U.S. economy and discussed President Barack Obama’s trade priorities for the nation.

“Global trade is a key economic driver for Southern California and for our nation,” said United States Trade Representative Ronald Kirk. “In today’s challenging global economy, we must stay focused on opening world markets to American products, creating opportunities for U.S. businesses and better-paying jobs for workers here at home.”

This year’s theme, “At the Crossroads of Cultures & Trade,” focused on leveraging cultural ties to enhance trade and grow the economy.   The event recognized 97 existing Sister City partnerships from across the Southern California region, which can be used as a catalyst to promote and enhance trade.  During his keynote remarks, USC President Dr. Steven Sample called Los Angeles the capital of the Pacific Rim due to its entrepreneurial businesses, extraordinary creativity and unprecedented diversity.

“The intersection of cultures in Los Angeles offers an amazing opportunity,” said Dr. Sample, President, USC.  “In the age of global interconnectedness, we must continue to foster communication, trade goods and break down barriers of ethnicity if Los Angeles is to remain the capital of the Pacific Rim.”

The 83rd Annual World Trade Week Kickoff Breakfast also presented scholarships to local students and recognized regional trade leaders.  The USC Marshall School of Business – Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) received the Special Recognition Award.  ICS -Carlisle Latin America & Caribbean and Mambino Organics were honored with the Export Achievement Award.  The County of San Bernardino Economic Development Agency was recognized with the Service to World Traders Award. The Port of Long Beach received the Bob Kleist Leadership Award.

“The fact that Los Angeles has celebrated international trade for more than eight decades is testament to the significance of trade in our region,” said Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.  “The L.A. Area Chamber is proud to host Ambassador Ronald Kirk on his first-ever visit to Los Angeles as USTR and we look forward to working with him and the Obama Administration to help enhance trade opportunities and jobs for U.S. businesses.”

USTR Ronald Kirk and USC President Steven Sample’s remarks will be available via Webcast on the L.A. Area Chamber Web site at www.lachamber.com.  More information on World Trade Week and the month’s activities is available at: www.worldtradeweek.com.


The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit www.lachamber.com.

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