California is one of the 10 largest economies in the world with a gross state product (GSP) of more than $2 trillion. International-related commerce (including exports and imports of goods and services, plus investments) accounts for approximately one-quarter of the state’s economy. Although trade is a nationally determined policy issue, its impact on California is immense. California exports to 229 foreign markets.

The California Chamber supports expansion of international trade and investment, fair and equitable market access for California products abroad, and elimination of disincentives that impede the international competitiveness of California business.

International Trade Business Issue

Trade is Good for America: U.S. Presidents Weigh In
“Expanding trade, including through trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is good for U.S. businesses of all sizes, good for the U.S. economy and good for U.S. jobs.”
Trade Benefits America, July 22, 2016

CalChamber International Trade Issues and Priorities

Highlighting its international trade priorities, CalChamber supports renewing the President’s authority to negotiate trade agreements and pending agreements with Pacific nations and the European Union.

CalChamber Council for International Trade

CalChamber Council for International Trade hosts trade events, forums, and guests.

International Activities


Looking Out for Business

Through our lobbying team and committees, we monitor state and federal legislative issues, as well as multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations on behalf of Californians doing business abroad.

Making Connections

We work as a clearinghouse of information for international trade. We encourage our members to share their international expertise, while also bridging the gap between government agencies and private companies, here and abroad.

Getting Involved

We give you as many chances as possible to grow your international business. Each year, we sponsor/co-sponsor trade and investment missions, educational programs and conferences, as well as trade and catalog shows.

Cuba Policy Trip

CalChamber Joins World Affairs Council on Cuba Policy Trip – April 2015

cuba-300-200This nation-wide 20-member delegation met with high-ranking government officials, chatted with entrepreneurs in the emerging Cuban private sector, enjoyed the work of professional artists and musicians, heard from renowned historians and convened with diplomats and economists.

Cuba Policy Trip Blog

Trade Missions

CalChamber delegations have participated in the state’s trade and investment missions. Members and CalChamber officials often participate in trade events such as International Expos and the World Economic Forum. Board members and officials have accompanied four California Governors to various worldwide destinations, including Mexico City to discuss the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA.)

Gubernatorial Trade Mission to Mexico – July 2014

MOU signing at Casa de CaliforniaVisit to learn more about this successful trade and investment mission led by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., organized by the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Foundation for Commerce and Education, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization affiliated with CalChamber.

Along with senior members of his administration and business delegates, Governor Brown traveled to Mexico City, the political capital and financial center of Mexico.

Gubernatorial Trade Mission to China – April 2013

CalChamber President/CEO Allan Zaremberg and Governor BrownThe delegation traveled throughout China and attended the opening of the California Trade and Investment Office in Shanghai, California’s first official permanent presence in China in nearly a decade. With more investment deals from China than any other state, California is positioned to capture China’s growing foreign investment. Trade Mission Blog

Past Trade Missions


CalChamber Receives President’s Export Award

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke (right) presented the award to CalChamber Vice President of International Affairs Susanne Stirling in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke (right) presents the award to CalChamber Vice President of International Affairs Susanne Stirling in Washington, D.C.

President's Export Award LogoThe California Chamber of Commerce received the prestigious President’s “Excellence for Export Service Award,” the nation’s highest award to honor United States exporters.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Locke said that those honored at the November 2009 ceremony have “shown the foresight and ability to grow and prosper through a strong export strategy. Exporting U.S. manufactured goods and services plays an important role in rebuilding the American economy and creating jobs at home. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside our borders, there is great potential to boost economic growth and create new jobs in America through exporting. Alert Article


CalChamber Receives Korean Presidential Citation

Consul General Jeong Gwan Lee (left) and Consul Kwang Ho Lee (right) of the Korean Consulate General in San Francisco present the Korean Presidential Citation to Susanne Stirling.

Consul General Jeong Gwan Lee (left) and Consul Kwang Ho Lee (right) of the Korean Consulate General in San Francisco present the Korean Presidential Citation to Susanne Stirling.

On December 6, 2012, the California Chamber of Commerce received the prestigious Presidential Citation from the government of the Republic of Korea for promoting U.S.-Korea trade and commercial relations, and specifically for contributing to the passage of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The CalChamber was an early supporter of the U.S.-Korea FTA, the culmination of a five-year process from negotiations, to passage and implementation.

International Events

Golden Autumn Trade Fair
Sep 12 – Sep 13 all-day

Nanjing boasts one of the largest educated work forces in China and a lower cost of living than neighboring Shanghai. The city’s 60 universities graduate 250,000 students in every STEM field each year. It is ideal for companies that need quick access to the large financial and business hubs in China, but need to limit hiring costs for an expansion.

The Bay Area Council China Team can serve as your guide to get the most out of this event and ensure that your agenda will be customized to your business development needs.

Global Cultural & Business Practices
Sep 14 @ 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Learn the importance of encouraging an international outlook for business development. Discover cultural practices & protocols to better prepare for travel to different regions of the world. Develop an understanding of why clients in different countries should be treated differently; certain behaviors have varied meanings. Discover tips on how to make the most of meetings with people of other cultures; develop better relationships, both personally and in business.

SBA Export Lender Roundtable
Sep 20 @ 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Whether you’re a seasoned expert in SBA export programs or just trying to understand the potential for using these programs, the West Coast roundtable is designed for the export lender.  This program is exclusively for lenders. 


The entire West Coast SBA export lending team on hand to provide training and share insights.  They will be joined by special guests Dennis Chrisbaum (SBA’s International Trade Finance Director) and David Vidal from SBA headquarters, who will be sharing and seeking lender feedback on a number of exciting new export finance proposals that SBA is considering.


Topics addressed will include:

  • 8:30am-10:30am.  Overview of SBA export programs – ITL, Export Express, and EWCP.  This session is ideal for those new to the program and a succinct refresher for the experienced lender.
  • 10:30am-4:00pm.  Putting SBA export programs to work for your bank and your customer.
    • Briefing on SBA export loan activity and performance in FY2016.
    • I didn’t know you could do that! – Exploring the possibilities of EWCP lending.
    • Export Express – 10 things your competitors don’t know about it.
    • How to find EWCP deals – Using SBA export programs to gain a competitive edge.
    • Updates from export service partners – ExIm, US Commercial Service, San Jose Free Trade Zone.
    • Mastering EWCP mechanics – Practical tips on EWCP applications, reissuances, and monitoring.
    • New tricks up SBA’s sleeve – Preview of new export finance tools and authorities.
    • Lender’s panel – If I had 3 wishes…


It all happens Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 8:00am – 4:00pm at San Jose City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA in the West Wing Building, Rooms 118-119.  Check-in begins at 8:00am.  Program starts at 8:30am.  Working lunch provided.


This free annual event is open to all commercial lenders with an interest in learning more about SBA’s export loan guarantee programs – International Trade Loans (ITL), Export Express, and particularly the Export Working Capital Program (EWCP).


Admission is free but seating is limited.  Register online at:

G-20Y Summit
Sep 21 – Sep 25 all-day

The objective of the G-20Y Summit is the preparation by the business community of a set of recommendations relevant not only to itself but also to the larger civil society and of course to national and international policy decision makers.

2016 Public Forum on “Inclusive Trade”
Sep 27 – Sep 29 all-day

The Forum will be an opportunity for participants to discuss how a wider range of individuals and businesses can participate in the trading system and how WTO rules can help to ensure everyone benefits from trade. At a time when the business environment is changing and world growth is slowing, it is important to ensure that trade is truly inclusive, allowing small enterprises, women and innovative businesses to take an active role in the global trading system.

This year’s Forum will examine in particular how the WTO can foster the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the global market, how the trading system can support innovation and how women can participate more fully in international trade.

The Forum will also see the launch of the WTO’s flagship publication, the World Trade Report, which will focus on SMEs. A number of other books will also be launched during this year’s Forum.

Stands organized by both internal and external partners will display information concretely showcasing how to make trade more inclusive.

More International Events

Recent News



News and Publications


International Contacts




Susanne-Stirling-2012-300x300Susanne Stirling
Vice President, International Affairs