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China Trade Delegation's Southern California Visit Remains on Track

May 11, 1999|STEPHEN GREGORY, Regional business correspondent

Despite rising tensions between the U.S. and China, a trade delegation from one of China's most business-minded provinces signaled Monday it's still planning to visit Southern California next week to court local business leaders about joint ventures and investment opportunities.

"I talked to them [Monday] morning, and they said so far there's no change," said Lily Wong of the U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce, one of the organizations hosting the delegation. "Despite the tensions, we're still friends." Plans for the trip were finalized three months ago, she said.

The 120-member delegation is expected to include government and business leaders from Jiangsu, a coastal province north of Shanghai that is considered one of China's most prosperous regions. Last year the province--with its large manufacturing base--posted a reported gross domestic product of $85 billion.

The delegation, scheduled to arrive May 19, hopes to find equipment and technology suppliers and capital investment for roughly 300 provincial business ventures ranging from food processing and electronics manufacturing to transportation and agricultural projects, Wong said.

The trade mission will also be looking for investment opportunities in Southern California, she said.

Latin American Trade Show: Strategies for how local businesses can cash in on trade with Latin America is the scheduled topic of discussion at an international trade conference Wednesday in Long Beach.

The Trade With the Americas Conference & Trade Show will largely focus on trade opportunities with countries such as Brazil and Argentina, part of the Mercosur free-trade bloc in South America, said Grant Thomas of Southern California Edison, one of the groups sponsoring the event along with Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan's office.

Mercosur countries--which also include Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile--are especially ripe markets for computer hardware and accessories, electronic components and manufactured goods, Thomas said.

Meanwhile, Mercosur agricultural and apparel concerns have cast an eye on Southern California as a market for their goods. The conference will also focus on the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, which, as the North American Free Trade Assn. has done, looks to erase tariffs and trade barriers throughout the Western Hemisphere by 2005.

The event is part of the World Trade Week series of workshops and gatherings aimed at helping local small to medium-sized businesses break into international markets.

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