Jana Goldsworthy, a trade consultant with the California Central Coast World Trade Center Assn. in Oxnard, has high hopes for overseas trade opportunities for Ventura County businesses.
"They are good and getting better," Goldsworthy said. "Imports and exports continue to be a very important part of our economy, supporting a large portion of jobs in the community. There's tremendous opportunity for growth in exports for small- and medium-sized businesses in the area."
It's a point Goldsworthy and others in the local world-trade community will try to get across Thursday during the center's "Fourth Annual World Trade Week Conference" at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza in Westlake Village.
About 150 people are expected to turn out to hear presentations by Clyde Robinson, deputy assistant secretary for trade development for the U.S. Department of Commerce; James Dawson, senior director of distribution and logistics for Del Monte Fresh Produce; trade consultants and other world trade experts. Workshops on the business and legal aspects of international trade will be held during the 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. conference.
"The whole purpose is to make people aware of how important world trade is," Goldsworthy said. "During the last seven or eight months, we've helped clients do $5 million in export transactions." Past statistics were kept in terms of companies served, not dollar results, so no comparisons are available, she said.
"But no matter how you slice it, $5 million is impressive," she said. "You've got to keep in mind that every $40,000 to $50,000 supports one job, so that's 100 new jobs."
In recent years, Goldsworthy said, the center's clientele has become quite varied. Export businesses include manufacturers of apparel and sporting goods, biotech and other medical products, manufacturing equipment and environmental products. They also include providers of services such as management consulting, accounting, legal consulting and computer information.
"We're seeing greater and greater diversity and that's an exciting area of growth," Goldsworthy said. "It's in areas you wouldn't traditionally think were export opportunities--the service sector and a wider variety of product lines."
Goldsworthy said the small- and medium-sized businesses in Ventura County are well-suited to international trade.
"In the past, a lot of these companies shied away from exporting, thinking it was more for the big guys," she said. "But the truth is, the real opportunity is for the small and medium-sized businesses. Sometimes they have better flexibility to adapt to new markets and customer needs."
Admission to the conference is $65 for the international business workshops and $150 for the legal workshops, which will be held primarily for attorneys. Call 988-1406 for information. The Hyatt Westlake is at 880 S. Westlake Blvd.