2023 Orange County International Trade Forecast and Business Roundtable 

On June 22, local business owners, community leaders, and resource partners joined together at the Orange County International Trade Forecast and Business Roundtable, organized by the OCIE SBDC Global Trade Center. Cal State Fullerton economists Mira Farka, Ph.D., and Adrian Fleissig, Ph.D., outlined a forecast pertaining to the relevance of globalization and opportunities for businesses to engage in international trade. They touched on various aspects of globalization – what the future of globalization looks like, the shift in global supply chains, and an overall global outlook – as well as a regional trade outlook – merchandise exports specifically within Orange County, Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Anaheim. 

In addition to the economic forecast, several Orange County business owners participated in a panel discussion, offering diverse perspectives on how small businesses can benefit from engaging in trade. They shared experiences of challenges they faced and ways our SBDC Global Trade Center assisted them with overcoming those challenges. The goal of this interactive program was to demonstrate an analytical yet practical approach to where future trade opportunities might exist within our local business community.

Relevance of global trade today and the significance of global trade to small businesses:

In terms of the economists’ view of globalization, they see global trade to be quite resilient as world merchandise trade reached a historical high in 2022. They mentioned a shift in international trade moving from hyper-efficiency to resiliency, diversification, prioritizing security, and mitigating risks. 

In terms of future outlook, Farka and Fleissig appear to be less optimistic than the consensus. They described a challenging economic environment over the next two years, with expectations that the U.S. and world economy would experience a “normal recession” in 2024.

As far as the regional trade outlook within Orange County, OC exports fully recovered from the pandemic and Farka and Fleissig project robust growth in 2023. The two main sectors rising in popularity are food exports as well as computers and electronics. Unlike in Orange County, merchandise exports within Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Anaheim have yet to reach their pre-pandemic levels, with stronger growth forecasted in 2023. 

Find the full report, providing a thorough overview and analysis of Orange County, Southern California, and national exports, on the OCIE SBDC website. 

CSUF’s Global Trade Center makes an impact on OC businesses 

The OCIE SBDC Global Trade Center’s purpose is to assist expansion-ready companies in exporting for the first time and help businesses that currently export enter new markets. It was formed to support businesses within the OCIE SBDC region, helping drive revenue in other countries. 

The center helps businesses determine if and when they are ready to start exporting, assists with market identification and analysis, provides access to a variety of trade resources, helps businesses assemble and execute a global expansion plan, and provides assistance with accessing capital through grants or loans.

“With decades of international trade expertise, the OCIE SBDC Global Trade team provides hands-on assistance to small businesses in OC and IE that aim to expand globally. Our comprehensive services are designed to empower small businesses to overcome barriers and thrive in the global market,” says Manal Richa, director of the OCIE SBDC Global Trade Center. Richa led a panel of Orange County-based small business owners as part of the business roundtable. Each gave an account of challenges faced either before or while engaging in international trade. Some of these included identifying sufficient raw materials, dealing with heightened shipment periods, and navigating complex regulatory environments. 

The challenges were thoroughly evaluated with the assistance of consultants from the Global Trade Center, who possess extensive expertise in international trade, expansion, and exporting. The center helped each panelist solve their issues by way of outsourcing, logistics, and connecting owners to the right people in order to gain access to crucial resources. 

If you are a small business owner looking to enter international markets or exports or are already involved in exporting, connect with the OCIE SBDC Global Trade Center. Discover how our dedicated team can provide valuable support and assistance tailored to your specific needs! 

2023 Korean World Business Convention 

During the event, OCIE SBDC’s Regional Director Mike Daniel announced a couple of salient events small businesses and resource partners should be aware of: the 2023 Korean World Business Convention and the 2024 Trade Mission to Korea. 

Each year for the past 20 years, the Overseas Korean Foundation, an affiliate organization of the Korean Foreign Ministry, has hosted the World Korean Business Convention in Korea. But for the first time, the World Korean Business Convention will take place right here in Orange County. This event is the largest business convention for Korean leaders from around the world. The convention plays a vital role in raising small to mid-size Korean businesses into the global marketplace and connecting both domestic and overseas Korean businesses.

The event will offer bi-national business collaborations, investments, distributions, and partnership opportunities. Around 3,500 business leaders, including 1,500 Korean entrepreneurs from 60 different countries, are expected to attend and participate in various programs such as business exhibitions, one-on-one business matching, seminars, and consulting sessions.  

The Korean World Business Convention will take place from October 11-14, 2023, at the Anaheim Convention Center. It is sure to be a “powerful event that can help boost the Orange County economy,” says Sean Roh, president of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce of Orange County (KACCOC).

This year, the OCIE SBDC Network, in partnership with the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA), will be creating a California Pavilion for the World Korean Business Convention. The pavilion, which will house more than a dozen agencies and organizations that assists small business owners with international trade assistance, will include booth space; private offices for matchmaking and consulting opportunities through the SBDC Global Trade Center; and daily mixers with legislative and leadership officials from the United States and Korea. 

The OCIE SBDC and the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) will coordinate together to manage the pavilion to serve as an anchor for all California small businesses interested in opportunities with Korea.

2024 Trade Mission to Korea and Vietnam

The OCIE SBDC and California State University, Fullerton, will coordinate a trade mission to Korea and Vietnam in March of 2024 as a follow-up to the World Korean Business Summit. Up to 15 California small businesses that attended and conducted matchmaking at the World Korean Business Summit will get the opportunity to follow up with potential leads from manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and government agencies in Korea. The trade mission will also go to Vietnam, stopping in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. 

The SBDC and CSUF will continue to make trade missions a key component of the Global Trade Center that has been built over the past year and a half. We will provide further details about this opportunity as the Korean World Business Summit approaches. 

Where do we grow from here?

For small business owners, there has never been a more opportune moment to start exploring your international business journey. Economists are projecting a resilient outlook on global trade, and our OCIE SBDC Global Trade Center can provide you with assistance through each critical step involved with exporting. Take advantage of the exciting opportunities to pursue trade in Korea and Vietnam through the Korean World Business Convention and Trade Mission. Our aim is to equip you with the tools and confidence to engage in exporting and trade with ease.

At the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC, we are here to assist you with every aspect of your business to help it grow and become successful. We provide a wide range of no-cost and low-cost resources for both current and aspiring business owners across Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. 
Connect with us and see how your business can start, grow, and succeed.

Looking to start or grow your business?

We at the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC, are here to help you with every aspect of your business to help it grow and become successful.
Give us a call at 1-800-616-7232 or schedule a quick, 15-minute intake appointment at ociesbdc.org/consultation to see how we can help you start, grow, and succeed.