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Study Cites Trade Monopolies : Foreign Barriers Costing State Millions

August 27, 1987|NANCY YOSHIHARA | Times Staff Writer

California, the nation's largest seller of services to foreigners, is handicapped in expanding that commerce by unfair international trade and investment barriers, according to a new study by the California State World Trade Commission.

The state, which accounts for nearly 20% of U.S. services exports, loses millions of dollars in potential business annually because of obstacles ranging from foreign monopolies to weak patent and copyright protection.

The report, which the commission calls the first comprehensive profile of the state's services exports, showed that California businesses sold $12 billion to $15 billion in services abroad in 1984, the latest statistics available.

That amounted to about one-third of the state's export economy. California's exports of manufactured products totaled about $24.3 billion in 1984, while agricultural exports totaled $2.9 billion, according to the report.

The state's six biggest service sector exporters were identified as: travel and tourism (money spent on services in California by foreign visitors), $2.7 billion; construction, $2.3 billion to $3.5 billion; aviation, $1.4 billion; maritime, $1.4 billion; entertainment (movies and records), $1.3 billion, and data processing, $600 million to $1.4 billion.

The commission's report cited barriers including national postal, telecommunications, banking and aviation monopolies in Brazil and the European Economic Community.

It also pointed to inadequate protection of U.S. copyrights on films, records and other so-called intellectual property in countries including Canada, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and France.

"Nowhere are service exports, and hence the foreign barriers which prevent their growth, of more concern than in California," said Gregory Mignano, executive director of the commission.

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