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Trade—The China trade bill’s OK should spur local entry to Chinese marketplace

South County EDC Preparing for 10th

Annual Economic Summit

The Senate’s passage of the China trade bill last month should spur more interest, and eventually more business for many San Diego companies , some of which are already there.

Net360 Ltd., a Hong Kong-based E-business service provider that was launched last year, has operations in Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, the United States and Hong Kong.

Bill DeKruif, vice president of the firm’s U.S. operations based in San Diego, was optimistic that with the relaxation of further trade barriers and reduced tariffs, more U.S. and multinational firms will enter the China market.

“It sends a message to China that we want to do more trade there, and that’s a positive message,” DeKruif said. “It’s going to open some doors and increase activity from Western companies. And any time more Western companies do business in China, that helps us.”

Net360 provides Internet consulting and market research, Web services, customer relationship management, logistic and field services to companies seeking an E-commerce platform.

Among some of its larger clients are Citibank, Asia Global Crossing, 3Com Corp., Andale, and Miller Freeman Publishing.

Since its launch last December through a private placement of $25 million, the company has grown to 220 employees and expanded to several new cities, including Singapore this month.

Future target markets include Australia, China (beyond Hong Kong), South Korea, and Taiwan.

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South County EDC Hosts Summit: Hard to believe that an economic summit started by the South County Economic Development Council is 10 years old this month, but it is.

Doug Perkins, the council’s director who has been involved in every event, said the major difference from the first one is size.

“Every year it’s grown, and this year we’ll probably be three to four times bigger than when we started,” he said.

The summit that had been held in Coronado was moved to the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina last year, and will be there again next week. It should draw between 600 to 700 attendees over the two days, Oct. 19 and 20, Perkins said.

The list of confirmed speakers is impressive. Among them are Lon Haitamiya, California’s Secretary of Trade and Commerce; Alejandro Gonzalez Alcocer, the governor of Baja California; Francisco Vega De La Madrid, the mayor of Tijuana; and Manuel Luna Calderon, the European director for SECOFI, Mexico’s equivalent of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

As with past summits, this one has a real international flavor with officials and businesspeople from Mexico, but this one will also feature a delegation from China.

“We’re expecting a group of between 40 to 60 from at least three Chinese provinces: Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenyang,” said Perkins.

The summit also features top officials from at least six Mexican states: Baja California, and Baja California Sur; Colima; Jalisco; Oaxaca and Sonora.

The Chinese delegates include both government officials and business executives representing such disparate industries as high-tech and low-tech (like bicycles) manufacturing; health care; agriculture; textiles; and electrical components.

Among the issues covered in the seminars are taxation issues involved in trading and manufacturing in Mexico; customs issues; and California/Mexico trade.

The summit’s growth over the years has reflected the continued growth in international commerce locally, Perkins said.

“This is another sign that more people are recognizing the true international potential of all San Diego, particularly its southern portion,” he said.

The cost for the summit is $195 for members and $295 for non-members. Call (619) 336-2474 for further information.

WTC Heads To Brazil: San Diego World Trade Center will lead another trade mission Dec. 2-9, this time to South America’s largest economy and the eighth largest in the world, Brazil.

The trip visits four of Brazil’s major cities: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Campinas (a sister city to San Diego and an emerging high-tech center) and Porto Alegre.

The WTC has organized the itinerary with the help of the U.S. Commercial Service of the Department of Commerce, and the American Chambers of Commerce.

The price for the trade mission is $3,400 and includes round-trip economy airfare on Varig Airlines, hotel and airport transfers, hosted meetings, briefings and receptions at each city; and post-mission briefing.

A 50 percent nonrefundable deposit must be paid by the registration deadline on Oct. 3. The WTC said it anticipates bringing a group of between 10 to 20 on the trip.

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Cubic Takes A Bow In Sydney: Millions of Olympic visitors and athletes are using the latest “touch screen” fare ticketing machines for this year’s Sydney Olympics. The new machines, installed by Cubic Australia, allow rail customers to purchase tickets using instructions in 14 languages with a simple touch of a screen.

“These touchscreens are the latest of their type in the world, and similar to models Cubic has already installed in the London Underground and New York City Transit,” said Tom Walker, managing director for Cubic Australia.

The new machines are part of a variety of upgrades and additions to Sydney’s existing fare systems that resulted from two contracts totaling about $14.6 million, said Cubic spokeswoman Kelly Williams.

Cubic Transportation Systems, a subsidiary of Cubic Corp., is the world’s largest provider of automated ticketing systems, and has been doing business in Australia for 10 years. It has completed systems installations in London, China, Argentina, New York, Miami, Singapore, Mexico, Scandinavia, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Miva Corp. Opens German Office: San Diego-based Miva Corp., an E-commerce software provider, opened its first outside sales and distribution office in Munich this month. The company cited published reports that the German E-commerce market is expected to grow to $23 billion within a few years. The current number of Germans now online is estimated at 19 million, but should increase to more than 38 million by 2003, the report said.

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WTC Awards Show: This year’s annual WTC awards gala on Nov. 9 at the Birch Aquarium has a Mexican fiesta theme including live entertainment, food from various regions and a silent auction. The agency will hand out awards in six different categories.

Send international trade news items to mallen@sdbj.com.


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