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INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS–Candidates Square Off Over Trade With China

Delegation From China Spends Time in San Diego Seeking Trade Opportunities

It’s not an issue most voters consider when making their decision, but how San Diego fosters international trade and develops as a Pacific Rim center was the subject of a mayoral forum held Feb. 17 at UCSD’s Mandeville Auditorium.

While there were lots of similar responses on the subject, at least one question showed a real distinction among nine of the 12 candidates who appeared at the forum.

To a question on whether they would actively support China’s admission to the World Trade Organization, four of the nine candidates said they would not lobby their representatives in Congress for that to happen. One candidate wasn’t sure, but said it would depend on discussions with members of Congress.

Councilwoman Barbara Warden said she would have difficulty supporting a nation like China that doesn’t respect human rights and has a bad track record in its treatment of women.

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Jim Bell, an ecological designer, said he couldn’t support providing any advantages for a nation that fostered exploiting the environment as China has.

Loch David Crane, a magician, also said he was against helping China because of its human rights record.

“I’m not in favor of slave states,” he said. “I say don’t let China into the World Trade Organization until the Dalai Lama can walk free into his own country.”

Councilman George Stevens said he is worried about this country’s growing trade deficit and wouldn’t make any effort on China’s behalf because of its treatment of Taiwan.

Janice Jordan, a college student, also expressed reservations in supporting China’s membership in the WTO because of its human rights violations.

The four other candidates, Peter Davis, Dick Murphy, Ron Roberts and Byron Wear, said they would actively support China’s entrance to the WTO.

Roberts sounded the most common view that while China’s record on human rights wasn’t good, “I don’t think we can stick our heads in the sand and hope everything works out.”

Davis pointed out San Diego companies already export millions of dollars of products to China, and this could increase if China could be persuaded to reduce its high trade tariffs.

Wear and Murphy expressed support for China’s entrance to WTO, but Murphy got a good laugh when he said, “for me to be able to tell Bob Filner or Duncan Hunter what to do in Washington is a total joke.”

On the issue of what the city should do to improve its current airport service, most mayoral hopefuls supported the proposal to increase Lindbergh Field’s capacity while seeking a site for a much larger international airport elsewhere.

Murphy was the most explicit, saying the city should pursue developing a new international airport at Camp Pendleton. He said the best long-range plan is to develop a new airport in a joint venture with Orange County on land north of Oceanside now occupied by the U.S. Marine Corps.

Wear said the area needs to improve both its passenger and air cargo infrastructure, and agreed with a Port District concept to add a taxiway and create a new passenger terminal at Pacific Highway while searching for a new airport site.

Roberts said locating a new international airport is the major component of an overall upgrade of the region’s aging infrastructure if the area expects to develop as an international trade center.

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Chinese Delegation: A delegation of about 12 high-level executives from Hong Kong stopped off here recently. The group, which met Mayor Susan Golding and other local officials, was here to look at potential business partners and opportunities. The delegates represented companies in telecommunications, software, electronics, high-tech services, light industrial products, apparels and accessories, and health food industries.

The companies ranged from smaller businesses to several with thousands of employees and offices throughout the world.

Sony Alliance With Intel: A proposed joint venture between Tokyo-based Sony Corp. and Santa Clara-based Intel Corp. to develop “next generation home appliances” is still in the talking stage, and hasn’t been formally announced, so it’s uncertain how it might affect Sony’s San Diego operation.

John Dolak, a spokesman for Sony Technology Center in Rancho Bernardo, said the probability is that the joint venture would result in new business lines, but where that occurs is uncertain.

A published report said the two companies would create products that would permit transmission of images between personal computers and digital home appliances.

Sony’s local site has some 3,500 employees and produces the cathode ray tubes for televisions and computer monitors, digital set top boxes and digital televisions.

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Cross Border Integration: Baja California Gov. Alejandro Gonz & #225;lez Alcocer is among the scheduled speakers at a one-day conference from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 31 at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at UCSD.

The conference is organized by the Center for Global Legal Studies at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and is being co-sponsored by the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California in Tijuana and UCSD’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies.

Thomas Jefferson’s Dean Kenneth Vandevelde said the intent of the conference is to bring together top government officials and experts from a variety of international organizations to discuss crucial issues facing the two cities of San Diego and Tijuana.

Vandevelde noted some 40 percent of San Diego’s $8.6 billion in exports (as of 1998) goes to Mexico.

“The many jobs created by San Diego’s booming export industry is a major reason that unemployment in San Diego is the lowest that it has been in 40 years,” he said.

Cost for the conference for general attendees who register by Feb. 28 is $60. After that, it goes to $75.

Otay Mesa Chamber Installed: Steven Zisser, a local attorney specializing in customs law, is the new president of the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce. The other board officers and their positions are first vice president, John Jolliffe of Casas International Brokerage Inc.; second vice president, Ted Duggan of Trend Technologies; secretary, Wayne Powell, United Parcel Service; treasurer, Ira Gershow, Andrew & Williamson Sales Co.; and past president, Steve Gross of Border Trade Services.

Chamber directors and newly elected board members include Robin Casey, Casey Development; Lilia Durham, Honeywell Corp.; Alan Foster, Sanyo North America Corp.; Robert Garin, California Transportation Ventures; Cheryl Hammond, AT & T;/Concert; Robert Hanover, Continental Polymers; Shane Harmon, CB Richard Ellis; Rick Otis, RPM Material Handling; Manuel Nu & #324;o, First National Bank; and Frank Urtasun, San Diego Gas & Electric Co.

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Award: North American Production Sharing, based in Solana Beach, was named by JAE Oregon, a manufacturer of auto components for Honda and Volvo, as its Business Associate of the Year for the past year. North American has provided maquiladora management services to JAE’s plant in Tijuana for the past year.

Foreign Educators: About 100 teachers, , including some from the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Spain and the Ukraine , met and questioned a panel of teachers and students from Cuyamaca College in El Cajon.

The group was stopping at the college as part of a six-day tour for the teachers to view Cisco Systems’ Internet network systems, and the specialized training programs the company has established at various California locations.

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Trade Winds: LH Systems is the featured company at the monthly breakfast meeting of the San Diego World Trade Center at 7:30 a.m. March 9 at the University Club in San Diego.


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