At the Port of Los Angeles, many ships arrive full of Asian goods but leave half filled with air.
On June 13, the port organized an event with representatives from eight Asian countries at CSU Channel Islands to show Ventura County business owners that the port’s loss is their opportunity. In May alone, half of the 321,000 container units leaving the port were empty.
About 100 interested business owners came to CSUCI to hear about growing Asian middle classes, fast economic growth and fair regulations for trade with Asia.
Jin Wok Moon, deputy director of the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency of Los Angeles, told the audience that while North Korea grabs all the headlines, South Korea is much more economically advanced and should be looked at by American business owners. He also said it leads the way in Asian taste and fashion.
“Sometimes small gives an advantage. In Korea you can reach any part of Korea in just three or four hours,” Moon said. “Korea can be a test bed for the Asian market.”
Other countries represented included Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Taiwan. Attendees were encouraged to reach out the speakers and their offices, which are designed to connect U.S. business owners with relevant foreign partners. They were also entered in a raffle to win a Forever 21 gift certificate.
Jeen Coronel, who works for the Port of Los Angeles and organized the event, said the goal was to provide information to smaller-sized business owners and to eventually fill those empty ships.
“Our ultimate motive is to be able to fill our ships that go out from the port,” she said. “We are most interested in small and medium-sized businesses because they can provide jobs for a lot of people and they can move faster than bigger companies.”
Louis Gorchoff is trying to sell steak-sauce to challenge A1. He said his first step toward dominating the market is to focus on global sales. He came to the event to make contacts in individual countries.
“I got their business cards, I gave them mine,” he said. “I’m going to follow up and contact their offices and say ‘put me in touch with who can buy my product.’”