Council for International Trade - Trade Update California Chamber of Commerce Council for International Trade - Trade Update Newsletter


Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Featured Headlines

2022 CalChamber & Host Breakfast

Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis, Lt. Governor of California,gives
the keynote address at the 96th annual Sacramento Host Breakfast.
Photo by

Business, civic and legislative leaders gathered in Sacramento for the 96th annual Sacramento
Host Breakfast featuring remarks from
CalChamber Board Chair Kailesh Karavadra
and Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis.

Lt. Governor, CalChamber Chair
Outline State’s Strengths, Challenges
at 96th Annual Host Breakfast

CalChamber, June 3, 2022

Tribute to Allan Zaremberg, CalChamber
President and CEO, 1998-2021

CalChamber, June 2, 2022


Consular Corps Reception

The California Chamber of Commerce hosted an evening reception that featured California Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis as a special guest on June 1. The reception provided members of the California Consular Corps and foreign economic partners, representing nearly 60 countries, an opportunity to meet with the Lt. Governor and other state officials.

Remarks by Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis
at the CalChamber Consular Corps Reception

Office of Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, June 1, 2022

Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis greets The Hon. Thandile
Babalwa Sunduza, Consul General of South Africa
in Los Angeles, at the CalChamber-hosted reception
for members of the Consular Corps on June 1.
Photo by

Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis speaks with The Hon. Dmytro Kushneruk, Consul General of Ukraine in San Francisco.
Photo by

(From left to right:) Jennifer Barrera, President & CEO,
CalChamber; Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis; The Hon.
Neil Frank Ferrer, Consul General of the Philippines;
The Hon. Nagendra Prasad, Consul General of India;
and The Hon. Levan Beridze, Consul General of Georgia.
Photo by

Global Trade Issues with Touch of Politics Get Attention at
CalChamber Forum

International Forum Speakers
(From left) Arun Venkataraman, assistant secretary of commerce for global markets
and director general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, U.S. Department
of Commerce; Dan Walters, columnist, CalMatters; Emily Desai, deputy director for
international affairs and trade, Governor’s Office of Business and Economic
Development (GO-Biz); Susanne T. Stirling, CalChamber vice president,
international affairs.Photo by

Common challenges facing the global community were the focus of an enthusiastic audience at the California Chamber of Commerce-hosted in-person International Forum last week.

Speaking to the 175 attendees at the June 1 forum were:

  • Arun Venkataraman, assistant secretary of commerce for global markets and director general at the U.S. Department of Commerce;
  • Emily Desai, deputy director for international affairs and trade at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz);
  • Dan Walters, longtime political columnist, CalMatters.

Susanne T. Stirling, CalChamber vice president, international affairs, moderated the forum.

Director General Venkataraman

Director General Arun Venkataraman, assistant secretary of commerce for global markets
and director general, U.S. Department of Commerce. Photo by

Venkataraman highlighted what the Biden-Harris administration has been doing to promote the competitiveness of American businesses and build on bilateral trade relations.

Given the global nature of the challenges facing the international community, he said, it follows that partnership and commitment from all parties, especially representatives of foreign governments, is needed to solve issues ranging from supply chains to excess capacity in certain industries, cyberthreats or the climate crisis.

The pandemic disruption, he noted, exposed the vulnerabilities in the supply chain and highlighted the importance of resilience and the need for the government to focus on transparency.

Two affiliations the administration is using to resolve supply chain issues, he said, are the U.S.-European Union Trade and Technology Council launched last year and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework started with 12 countries in late May. Later this year, the U.S. Commerce Secretary and Secretary of State will co-host a supply chain ministerial forum to expand cooperation with partner nations.

Director General Venkataraman is leading a team that is moving forward with the administration effort to expand trade opportunities for businesses from underserved communities.

The United States, with its diverse population, is uniquely positioned to harness the talent available, Venkataraman said. America has a duty to ensure that trade benefits everyone, he declared.

Studies show, he pointed out, that racial and gender diversity improve a company’s bottom line.

As part of its commitment to supporting the President’s climate change priorities, the Commerce Department is helping clean technology companies develop export competitiveness. The program will help combat climate change globally while creating good jobs at home, Venkataraman explained.

GO-Biz Trade Team

Emily Desai, deputy director for international affairs and trade,
GO-Biz. Photo by

Desai described the three pillars of the GO-Biz international trade program:

  • Attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to the state to grow California jobs.
  • Support small businesses so they can enter new global markets.
  • Engage in sub-national diplomacy.

Recognizing that California is the No. 1 state for jobs supported by FDI, GO-Biz arranged more than 20 virtual gatherings to highlight opportunities for businesses in advanced technology and biotechnology, Desai said.

A “Meet California” breakfast attracted hundreds of businesses to learn about the state’s “talent pipeline” from the Chancellor of the Community Colleges and executives of innovative firms.

“Companies are excited about doing business in our state because they know that California is the place that turns innovation into commercialization,” Desai said.

Using funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, GO-Biz has set up virtual trade missions with nations around the world, Desai said. In 2021, the virtual trade missions provided sales leads for Spain, Portugal, Australia, Singapore, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. So far in 2022, the virtual missions have explored opportunities in Romania and China.

Expansions that can occur if the Governor’s budget request is approved, she said, include enhancing cross-border economic development with Mexico and scaling up the state’s export training network.

The third pillar of the GO-Biz international affairs program, Desai explained, has including signing or renewing of memorandums of understanding (MOU) with partners such as China and Japan; furthering relations with long-term partners; hosting visits — such as the Crown Prince of Norway and New Zealand Prime Minister; and helping the international network deploy access to vaccinations.

“Every one of your teams is an extension of ours,” Desai told the audience. The cooperation of these teams, she commented, helps California on a global stage.

California Politics

Dan Walters, columnist, CalMatters. Photo by

Walters described how the California economy has evolved from one based on resources before World War II to the “industrial juggernaut” that produced the implements of war to the logistics (Southern California) and technology centers (Northern California/Silicon Valley) of today.

What could prevent California from continued economic expansion, he said, are shortages of needed goods, services and resources. The challenges, he explained are inter-related and political to one degree or another.

  • Water. Supplies have been getting shorter and shorter for several reasons, including climate change — which means the federal and state systems that depend on snowmelt for the water they supply to customers during dry spells don’t have enough water.

Agriculture, which consumes about 75% of developed water, has been cut down to 0% of its allocation.

Walters pointed out that California has not done what it needs to do despite warnings of drought to assure an adequate water supply. He commented that the California Coastal Commission recently rejected a proposal for a desalination plant in Southern California.

  • Electrical energy. The water shortage, Walters explained, has led to an energy shortage because so much of the state’s electricity comes from hydropower.

In the transition to noncarbon energy, he commented, California hasn’t maintained reserves as it should. In an effort to ensure adequate electricity supplies, the state is keeping gas-powered plants online beyond their originally planned retirement date and the Governor has announced wanting to keep the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant operating as well, Walters observed.

California, he said has shown a “lack of political will” to do what’s necessary “to make sure we’ll have power when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.”

  • Housing. Walters commented that there is a housing crunch nationwide, but the shortage is particularly severe in California, which needs about 180,000 new units annually to keep up with demand and tackle the supply backlog, yet has been producing about half that amount.

Lack of housing, he said, is a major contributor to California having the highest poverty rate, as measured by the Census Bureau, and contributes to the “very visible homelessness” on the streets of Sacramento and other cities around the state.

The shortage makes it difficult for companies to hire workers because those employees can’t afford to live here, he said. The median price of a home in California today is $800,000, versus $200,000 in most states.

The lack of affordable housing has a corrosive impact on the economy and prevents the state from having the labor needed for a vibrant economy, Walters said, noting that California has been losing population for the last couple of years.

  • Labor. Up and down the state, companies report having difficulty finding workers, Walters said. Just a few examples include fast food restaurants offering $18 per hour but still being unable to find workers. Truck drivers, teachers, police and fire fighters are other categories of workers in short supply.

The shortages listed, Walters commented, are potential drags on the California economy, and are “all political issues to one degree or another.”

He closed by warning that Californians need to remember that “nothing should be taken for granted.”

A vibrant, growing and prosperous society, he said, depends on having the right quantities of the right resources.

“If we continue to ignore some of these fundamentals…eventually we will pay the price — just as Detroit did, just as the Roman Empire did.”

District Export Council Meeting

Members of the five California District Export Councils (DEC) met in Sacramento on June 1, 2022 to hear from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s The Honorable Arun Venkataraman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service. The current issues facing the trade community and the Department’s new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework were the focus of discussion. Following, the group attended other international-trade related events.
Photo by

At the meeting, the five California DECs signed a letter of support for supply chain efficiency. For more info please click here.


Summit of the Americas

IX Summit of the Americas

IV CEO Summit of the Americas
June 7-9, 2022
Register to watch a livestream.

In Los Angeles, Governor Newsom to Meet With World Leaders at Summit of the Americas: Tentative Summit of the Americas Schedule
Office of Governor Gavin Newsom, June 7, 2022

Biden’s ‘Ambitious’ Economic Plan for Latin America Offers a ‘Social Contract,’ Not Trade Agreements
Politico, June 7, 2022

U.S. Bars Cuba, Venezuela from Americas Summit; Mexican Leader Sits Out
Reuters, June 7, 2022

Governor Newsom Welcomes World Leaders to California for Summit of the Americas, Highlights Golden State Diversity and Economic Strength
Office of Governor Gavin Newsom, June 6, 2022

Background Press Call Previewing the President’s Agenda for the 9th Summit of the Americas
White House, June 6, 2022

Secretary Blinken’s Travel to Los Angeles for the Summit of the Americas
U.S. Department of State, June 6, 2022

Summit of the Americas Opens in L.A. as U.S. Grapples with Deteriorating Relations and Influence
Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2022

5 Things to Watch When Biden, Harris Attend the Summit of the Americas
The Hill, June 6, 2022

Ambassador Katherine Tai to Travel to Los Angeles for the Summit of the Americas
U.S. Trade Representative, June 5, 2022

Statement by Press Secretary Jen Psaki
on President Biden’s Selection of Special
Advisors for the Summit of the Americas

White House, April 11, 2022

President Biden Announces Host City
for Ninth Summit of the Americas

White House, January 18, 2022

Los Angeles to Host Summit of Americas
CalChamber Alert, January 28, 2022


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