LOS ANGELES, CA – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, City of Los Angeles First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner, Peterson Institute for National Economics Director Fred Bergsten and University of Southern California (USC) Professor of International Trade Dr. Abraham Lowenthal were among those who spoke at today’s 84th Annual World Trade Week Kickoff Breakfast hosted by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.
World Trade: The Path to Economic Recovery kicked off the more than 40 events to take place in May as part of the national World Trade Week observance. Close to 500 executives and members of the diplomatic corps in attendance listened to discussions focused on leveraging cultural ties to enhance trade and grow the economy. Dr. Bergsten spoke about encouraging signs of increased activities in trade over the past year.
“I am particularly pleased to be here today because the trade picture is so much brighter than when you met a year ago,” Bergsten said. “At that time, both exports and imports were plummeting due to the global recession.”
“We should not have been surprised, however,” Bergsten continued. “Since the Second World War, trade has grown by a multiple of world economic growth, rising about four times as fast in the fifty years prior to the recent turndown and then dropping by only a slightly higher ratio in late 2008 and early 2009. Fortunately, it is now recovering at least as rapidly.”
The L.A. Area Chamber presented Governor Schwarzenegger with the California Global Ambassador Award for his commitment to expand international trade and promote California in global markets. Dr. Lowenthal received the 2010 Stanley T. Olafson Award for his dedication to the development of world trade in the region.
“Dr. Lowenthal has helped local, state, national and foreign governments and business leaders understand the impacts of global trade,” said L.A. Area Chamber President & CEO Gary Toebben. “He’s created a blueprint that has helped our region take advantage of the many opportunities presented by doing business overseas.”
The Export Achievement Award was presented to Saddleback Educational Publishing, a leader in high-interest solutions for struggling learners in middle and high school, and Paulson Manufacturing, a Temecula-based company that produces eye and face safety products. This award recognized small and medium-sized firms which have experienced significant and continued growth in export sales.
The Service to World Traders Award, which honors businesses that have demonstrated a sustained commitment to serving world traders in areas such as transportation, financing and law, was presented to International Checkout, Inc. Since 2002, International Checkout has been at the forefront of global e-commerce, providing an integrated solution that includes a full range of services.
The Special Recognition Award, which spotlights the outstanding contributions of a nonprofit organization or volunteer member of the trade community, was presented to California Fashion Association, a nonprofit organization established to provide information about the apparel and textile industry of California for business expansion and international trade.
For more than 80 years, World Trade Week has been the most extensive and unique program of its kind in the country. World Trade Week dedicates itself to educating the public on the importance and benefits of global trade on the local and national economy through a series of educational programs and events.
“The fact that Los Angeles has celebrated international trade for more than eight decades is testament to the significance of trade in our region,” Toebben said. “The L.A. Area Chamber is proud to host Governor Schwarzenegger, Dr. Bergsten and Dr. Lowenthal and we look forward to working with these individuals to enhance trade opportunities and jobs for U.S. businesses.”
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.