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Local Firms on China Trade Mission

September 27, 2000|Marla Dickerson

Cosmetics, car alarms, condoms. These are some of the products local entrepreneurs will be displaying in China next month as part of a trade mission to jump-start export sales to the world's most populous nation.

So far six small firms have signed on for the 12-day trip, which will take them to Beijing and Shanghai, as well as Wuhan, Taicang and Inner Mongolia. Organized by the Los Angeles County Office of Small Business, the mission is an attempt to get small area firms on the fast track to grab a slice of China trade.

The timing, while a coincidence, couldn't be better. The U.S. Senate earlier this month gave final approval to legislation granting China permanent normal trade relations. The move was denounced by critics of China's human rights record, but supporters say it will help pry open China's market of 1.3 billion consumers to more U.S.-made goods.

"I was in Beijing two years ago and I saw other country's products, but very few American products," said Edna Bruce, director of the LACOSB. "We need to do something about the trade imbalance. This mission is a good place to start."

Los Angeles-based RVH American Inc. will join the delegation in search of a few good men. The firm, which manufactures condoms, is looking to set up a joint venture with a Chinese partner, according to company spokesman Richard Quaison.

The Chinese government for years has distributed condoms free to married couples as part of the country's one-child policy. But a rise in prostitution and sexually transmitted diseases has fueled the need for a retail market. China has an estimated 400,000 citizens living with HIV.

"Our whole approach is based on prevention," Quaison said. "So I think we have the chance to do some good over there."

Bruce said there are still five spots left for the trade mission, which will run Oct. 14-25. The $2,888 travel package includes air fare, luxury hotel accommodations, meals, ground transportation and all business meeting arrangements.

For more information, contact Bruce at (213) 430-5435.

* Times staff writer Marla Dickerson can be reached at

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