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SUPER MARIO: CORDERO HELPED SHAPE PORT OF LONG BEACH’S PIONEERING GREEN PORT POLICY YEARS BEFORE HE BECAME EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

cordero

SUPER MARIO: CORDERO HELPED SHAPE PORT OF LONG BEACH’S PIONEERING GREEN PORT POLICY YEARS BEFORE HE BECAME EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Mario Cordero was an attorney in Long Beach, defending industries and municipalities in workers’ compensation cases when he went to lunch with a local elected official. This was in the early 2000s when environmental issues were hot topics in a city that, by population, ranks second in Los Angeles County, seventh in California and 39th in the nation.

“He asked me if I’d be interested in being appointed to the harbor commission,” recalls Cordero of his lunch partner, who was referring to the City of Long Beach’s port authority. “I said of course I would. When you are talking about the port authority, that’s the pinnacle of civic involvement.”

But Cordero could not help but wonder … why him?

“At the time, port authority appointees had backgrounds either politically or as a developer or financier or someone in that circle, or as a community or environmental advocate who is a strong fundraiser,” he says. “I didn’t come under any of those classifications. So I asked, ‘Would the mayor consider me when I don’t have the history of those people who have been propelled to the port authority before?’ He said the mayor was looking for a different mindset, someone who was more sensitive to the concerns of the community and the environmental agenda.”

Cordero accepted the appointment and was sworn onto the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners in July 2003, going on to serve as vice president and president during his eight-year stint. The Los Angeles native is now beginning what will this year be his 17th year as a maritime leader, not only locally and nationally but internationally, as he resigned from the harbor commission in 2011 to join the Federal Maritime Commission, the U.S. government agency responsible for regulating the nation’s international ocean transportation for the benefit of exporters, importers and the American consumer and fostering a fair, efficient and reliable international ocean transportation system, while protecting the public from unfair and deceptive practices.

Cordero, who became executive director of the Port of Long Beach in May 2017, now leads a Harbor Department staff of more than 500 and oversees a budget that was $982 million for the 2019 fiscal year.

The crowning jewel of his career (so far) is arguably the nationally recognized, globally influential Green Port Policy, which outlines a sustainable ethic for all port operations, mandating that trade growth run parallel with environmental stewardship. Cordero began working on the initiative in late 2004, while still on the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. “We rolled it out,” he says, “and the rest is history.”

Cordero, who was appointed vice-chairman of the Board for the American Association of Port Authorities in October 2018, outlined his port’s strong 2019—despite a dip in exports due to the U.S.-China trade war—and the progress of sustainability efforts during his Jan. 23 State of the Port address at the Long Beach Convention Center. Last year, the Port of Long Beach moved 8.1 million shipping containers or its highest total ever. An $870 million project in the pipeline to improve the port’s rail yard will have more containers hauled by trains instead of trucks, he noted. “Rail is a big part of our green future,” Cordero told the audience. “For the American exporter, my message to you is this: Our rail will move your cargo faster and more efficiently, and we are on track to make it even better for you in the years ahead.”

He also highlighted the Clean Air Action Plan that the ports of Long Beach and neighboring Los Angeles, which together form the largest port complex in the nation, implemented in 2017. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. “We all know climate change is a major global effort, and a global threat,” Cordero told the crowd. “We need to transition to sustainable low-carbon, and the Port of Long Beach will do its part. Our challenge is not just to reduce carbon emissions. It’s to eliminate them altogether. … Yes, we face great challenges, but this port of the future is meeting that challenge. With our many projects, we’re planting seeds so this region continues to thrive.”

Over the phone a week after his State of the Port address, Cordero credited his time on the Harbor Commission with helping to bring about his port’s revolutionary change. “That was the game-changer with me to be part of the port authority,” he says. “I started during a time when there was a real contentious relationship with environmental groups and neighborhood groups who questioned the impacts of having such a great port. Their primary concerns were the harmful emissions that came from those operations and congestion on the highways, streets and so forth. As a result, then-mayor Beverly O’Neill appointed me to the Harbor Commission, and one of my mandates was to bring different thinking to the commission, one that is more sensitive to the concerns of the neighborhood and communities, especially when it came to the environmental issues coming before us.”

Cordero helped usher in the Green Port Policy that the port formalized in January 2005, sealing his reputation as a leader who can bring together different stakeholders or constituencies when it came to economic and environmental sustainability. “Our motto was Grow Green,” he notes. “Back then, in 2004-’05, a lot of naysayers in the industry felt that if you try to do both, it will negatively impact business operations. Looking back, that of course, as I thought then, was not to be the case.” The League of California Cities bestowed Cordero an environmental award in 2007 (the same year the Mexican-American Bar Association named him Attorney of the Year). And still, after two decades of operating under the Green Port Policy, the Port of Long Beach ranks second in the U.S. when it comes to container moves. (The Port of Los Angeles is No. 1.) “It’s not only Grow Green, but we are also a growth leader,” Cordero says. “We eventually laid out a model for ports around the world.”

Some of those ports in the U.S. would not mind cutting into Long Beach’s trade action. “We recognize that we have to have a competitive edge in terms of competing with other gateways in the U.S. lobbying for a piece of the Asian-Transpacific cargo moves,” concedes Cordero, who during his early days in the industry became “intrigued” by “the whole issue of commerce and international trade.” He plunged into examining globalization, especially as it related to economic partnerships with Asian countries. His self-education, coupled with the port’s economic and environmental successes, led to President Barack Obama appointing Cordero to the Federal Maritime Commission, which he chaired from April 2013 to January 2017.

The FMC experience “gave me context into the high levels of Washington, D.C.,” he says. “That leadership really put the Port of Long Beach on the national front. I am very proud of that history.” It was forged by Cordero’s ability to get local residents, environmentalists, union workers, terminal operators, cargo owners, international shipping companies, transportation entities and government regulators to all buy in to the port’s vision when it came to what had previously been viewed as polar opposites: trade growth and environmental sustainability. “We had to educate the community about the importance of international trade, not only as a job producer, but every household is a beneficiary of international trade,” Cordero says. “And number two, the Port of Long Beach was serious about exploring ways we can further sustainable development.”

He points with pride to “a tremendous monetary investment” the port has made to mitigate air and water pollution. “We moved forward to introduce and put in place shore power, which is also known as cold ironing,” he says. “An investment in excess of $180 million resulted in international vessels coming to port and hooking up to the electrical infrastructure as opposed to burning bunker fuel, or what they call hoteling. The way it [previously] looked at the port was that the vessels were emitting black smoke while they were here. Not much more changed dynamically until, on the international front and the state level, the implementation of standards requiring environmentally friendly fuels and the getting away from the common use of bunker fuel, which was the worst kind to use as far as the diesel infrastructure.”

Cordero is pleased with where the port is in terms of achieving the goals of the Green Port Policy. Referring to the marketing spin that makes a supposedly green entity sound more focused on sustainability than it really is, Cordero conceded, “Many thought in the environmental community, and I don’t blame them, that we were just greenwashing here. Obviously, we did more than greenwashing. … Mitigating harmful emissions—we’ve done that. In 10 years we have reduced particulate matter 88 percent, noxious emissions 57 percent, and we’ve reduced sock emissions at a level of 97 percent. Those are astounding numbers in terms of what we did.”

In the same breath, he acknowledges the port must do more as it tries to meet the bold goals of zero emissions in cargo handling by 2030 and zero emissions from trucks by 2035. “There are 18,300 trucks registered at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. There can be anywhere from 14 to 16 truck moves a day. Our goal is to not be satisfied in reducing emissions and diesel emissions until we get to zero, so by 2035 trucks will be running on electric batteries or fuel-cell technology.”

That is why Cordero is not ready to pop the cork on the bubbly just yet. “I am satisfied at this point in terms of what this port and this city have been able to do, but ultimately we must meet our current quest of going zero emissions,” he says. “That is something we will celebrate in the future.”

It’s all pretty heady stuff when you consider Cordero “was not even thinking about being on the Harbor Commission until I had that lunch. … I love to speak to students assessing what careers they are looking at. Number one, I tell them to give 110 percent at the job they are doing. Second, I say you never know what door is going to open.”

anaheim

Anaheim Has Much More to Offer than Just a Magic Kingdom

The late San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen used to describe Southern California as “the box that Disneyland came in.” That would make Anaheim the box top. Along with Orlando, Florida, Anaheim is the only place in America where it’s a compliment to hear a visitor remark, “Well, that was a real Mickey Mouse place to stay.”

But there is more to Anaheim than being the granddaddy of Uncle Walt Disney’s theme parks. Indeed, there is even more to Anaheim than its next two most well-known entities: the Los Angeles Angels of Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks.

For instance, did you know the Anaheim Convention Center is the largest exhibit facility on the West Coast? Originally opened in 1967, the convention center spans 53 acres, offers 1.8 million square feet of function space and also includes an on-site Hilton Hotel with display and meeting spaces of its own. Located directly across the street from the Anaheim Resort District’s second theme park, Disney’s California Adventure, the convention center hosts such large events as Citrix Synergy, Disney’s D23 Expo and the Winter National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show. Don’t let the roster spook you into believing the facility is solely suited for mega-tradeshows as it can also host small meetings and intimate industry gatherings.

Business travelers can choose from a plethora of lodging offerings as there are 111 hotels with 22,183 rooms within two miles of the convention center, including 41 (with 8,749 total rooms) within a half-mile walk of the meeting place. Besides Anaheim, there are hotels, motels and other lodging options in the bordering cities of Buena Park, Garden Grove, Fullerton, Orange and Yorba Linda. Beyond those, there are surrounding Orange County’s famous (and generally pricey) oceanfront resorts in Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Newport Coast and Huntington Beach. You might find a celebrity in these … checked in under an assumed name after having ditched the paparazzi an hour-and-change away in Hollywood.

Meanwhile, back in Anaheim, there is plenty to see and do locally. Most visitors do include at least a day at one of Uncle Walt’s parks, but those on a budget, tight on time or opposed to marathon standing sessions in attraction lines can get the Magic Kingdom flavor at the much mellower Downtown Disney shopping/dining/entertainment area that’s just steps from the main gates of Disneyland and California Adventure.

A similar destination on the other side of Harbor Boulevard from the Disney parks is Anaheim GardenWalk, which includes more great shopping and restaurants, as well as the House of Blues, live concert venue. Make sure to also check the entertainment listings for City National Grove, which is a couple of miles east on Katella Avenue from GardenWalk. And if you continue on Katella a bit you’ll hit the Honda Center, which draws arena acts when it’s not filled with conventions, Ducks games or other athletics.

Convention bookers should consider holding at least one gathering in The RANCH Restaurant & Saloon’s private dining and events center. Just two miles from the convention center—and five floors above The RANCH Restaurant (that is also available for buyout)—the exclusive sixth-floor venue offers spectacular views of Anaheim.

An even more unique outing can be had mere steps from Disney’s California Adventure. FlightDeck is the only simulator in the world that has visitors take a quick flight course, get fitted for a jumpsuit and experience mock flying that includes aerial maneuvers at 600 knots as well as air-to-air combat. Curse you, Red Baron!

Set about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, Anaheim is intersected by the 5 Freeway, which runs from the Mexican border all the way up to the Canadian border in Washington state. There are four major airports just minutes away from Anaheim: John Wayne (Santa Ana) International Airport, Long Beach Airport, Ontario International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Buses and shuttles that pick up steps from those hubs’ terminals feed into the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), which is across the street from the Honda Center and nearly adjacent to one of Angels Stadium’s gates.

Much farther south, on the other side of the Orange County border, is San Diego County, which is home to the pioneering California craft brewing scene. But Anaheim is no slouch when it comes to suds. The city boasts numerous craft breweries, some of which have won national awards for their elixirs. I recommend an Uber or Lyft crawl that at the very least includes Bottle Logic Brewing Co., Noble Ale Works, Towne Park Brew Co., Bruery Terreux and, nearby in Placentia, The Bruery Tasting Room. As Charles Harris, senior vice president of Marketing with Visit Anaheim, puts it: “You don’t have to be a cicerone to appreciate the perfect pint in Anaheim.”

Another worthy beercation stop is Anaheim Brewery, a revived pre-Prohibition beer garden that is this year celebrates its 150th anniversary. But it’s recommended not only for the milestone and delicious brews (their Anaheim 1888 is a must pour). A small lawn area separates the brewery from Anaheim Packing House, an old citrus packinghouse that has been reimagined as a hip food hall. People watching while nibbling on artisan eats is the real treat.

You can usually pack light because Anaheim is graced with nearly 300 days of sunshine, a miserly 13 inches of annual rainfall (and no snow) as well as an average temperature of 67 degrees. The 42-mile-long Orange County coastline facing the Pacific Ocean is usually just 20 minutes. If traffic is heavy, skip the maddening freeways and take Harbor Boulevard south.

It’s little wonder you must plan ahead when getting around, given that 20 million people reside within a 90-mile radius of Anaheim. Guess it’s not such a small world after all.

california

Starting a Small Business in California Is Easiest with Incfile

We’re living in a time when anyone with entrepreneurial aspirations has ample resources to make their dreams a reality. So your new limited liability company has plenty of company, especially if you’re operating out of California.

The Golden State is a known haven for some of the biggest companies in the world, and if you’re looking to kick off your latest business venture in California, Incfile can certainly help you get started with a bang.

In fact, starting a business in California is much easier when you have Incfile’s extensive resources and expert assistance to guide you. But what does it take to launch a small business in California? Let’s investigate.

Getting Started

If you’re launching a startup or a small-to-medium-sized business in California, an LLC is most likely your best bet as far as structure is concerned. This allows you to enjoy the primary benefits of larger corporations without overcomplicating your finances.

As an LLC, you’ll enjoy liability protection that keeps your personal assets distinctly separate from your business interests, as well as the pass-through taxation that can save you money. In just a few simple steps, you’ll be ready to leverage the advantages of operating a small business in California.

Naming Your California Business

What’s in a name? A lot, as it turns out. After all, your name needs to set your company apart, establish your mission and connect with your potential customer base in an instant. With so many businesses already based in California, you may have to dig deep to uncover the perfect name for your company. But it can be done. You’ll need to understand the rules involved and search through the California Secretary of State’s business register.

If that sounds overwhelming already, we completely understand. Naming a business is an art really. If you need guidance along the way, Incfile can help you navigate the vast landscape of California LLC fictitious names and trademarks and file the necessary form with your county administration once you do settle on your company’s name. We can even reserve the business name for you if you’re not ready to move on it or get to work on the Articles of Organization if you are.

Finding a California Registered Agent

Your business needs a registered agent on record whom you can trust to receive correspondence and forward these on to you for further action. When you start your business in California, you’ll need to appoint one. Being a registered agent is a big responsibility upon which hangs the fate of your business.

So, if you are having difficulty finding an eligible person or entity to name as your registered agent, Incfile provides a complete service for your California-based business, including acting as your registered agent. We’re always available to accept your documents and automatically notify you when we receive anything new, sending it directly to whichever address you select. Moreover, if you incorporate with Incfile, we’ll include this Registered Agent service free for your first year.

Filing Requirements for California

With any business venture, you will always be confronted with a variety of fees and filing requirements. These will, of course, vary based on the specifics of your business (which licenses and permits do you need, for example?), but when you form your California LLC with Incfile, we’ll automatically charge you the state filing fee and forward it to the California Secretary of State on your behalf.

In addition, Incfile can obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your business — which you will need for tax, banking and payroll purposes — and can likewise secure a foreign qualification (also known as a Certificate of Authority) if you plan to operate outside of California state lines.

From the very first steps to completing your California Statement of Information, we can handle all your key filing needs.

Licenses and Permits

Depending on the nature of your business or your location within California, you may need to secure a range of licenses or permits before you begin operation. If you fail to do so, you could be facing serious consequences, especially if you run afoul of compliance regulations.

Through Incfile’s Business License Research Package, you’ll receive a complete report on all licenses, permits and tax registrations you need in California, as well as the application forms to file with the appropriate authorities.

Thoroughness is the name of the game if you hope to avoid placing your young LLC at risk and incurring significant fees, and Incfile is prepared to help you sidestep any such obstacles.

Taxes for Your California Business

In the business world, taxes are an unfortunate reality and one that can become more complicated as time goes by. California LLCs may be subject to everything up to and including self-employment, payroll, federal, state and state sales taxes.

Luckily, Incfile has you covered here too. Our Business Tax Filing service can provide the assistance you need to make sense of your tax filing and ensure that you complete all necessary documentation accurately and on time. Don’t let your new California-based business suffer during tax season, especially when you have a resource like Incfile on hand to provide guidance and save money and time with your filing.

Next Steps After Starting a Business in California

After your LLC is formed, the work has only begun. So there’s no time to waste. While the process we’ve discussed might seem arduous, you’re still in easily one of the best states to make it as a small business. And, with Incfile on your side, those odds are even more encouraging.

Now, are you ready to start your small business in California? We’re ready to help you get there, all the while preparing you to face your competition head-on and with confidence that your company is built to last, no matter the market conditions. To learn more about how we can help, check out our website and get started today!

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This article was originally published on the Incfile Blog.

Robert Yaniz Jr. has been a professional writer since 2004, including print and online publications. Much of his experience centers on the business world, including work for a major regional business newspaper and a global law firm.

Spinnaker Investment Group

Andrew Krongold Named Partner at Spinnaker Investment Group

Vice President of Investments Andrew Krongold has been named partner in Spinnaker Investment Group, announced company CEO and Chief Investment Officer Morgan Christen. Krongold joins Christen and company president Joseph Stapleton as partners in the seven-member firm, which has more than $330 Million in assets under management.

Krongold has served as Vice President since the firm’s launch in 2016, providing CFO-level services for businesses and individuals such as customized investment management, life insurance, pension plans, and executive compensation solutions. At Spinnaker he provides leadership on the firm’s investment committee and guides marketing and technological innovation efforts.  He holds numerous licenses and professional designations, including Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor.

“We are proud to welcome Andrew as an equity partner of Spinnaker Investment Group,” Christen said.  “He is one of the big reasons we have been named among Orange County’s fastest-growing companies for two years in a row.  Andrew not only continues to provide his clients with world-class financial services but also is a valued community leader making a difference in Southern California.”

Krongold developed a passion for investments and teaching others about investing at an early age. He made his first stock purchase at 13 and chose wealth management as a career path soon after graduating from high school.  “As a kid I was fascinated with the idea that you could buy a piece of a large company,” he said.

Trading stocks and managing 401k plans early on provided great perspective on the highs and lows investors experience, he added.  “Having personally experienced the emotions associated with both making and losing money, I knew I wanted to join a firm that was independent and focused on the needs of clients, rather than be obliged to sell the financial products offered by a large institutional firm,” said Krongold.

Andrew is active in the community of Orange County where he is a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County, a Board member for the NextGen division of the Jewish Federation & Family Services of Orange County, and a board member of the Tocqueville Society of Orange County United Way. In 2019, Krongold was named one of “40 under 40” by the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, in recognition of his accomplishments and service.

A graduate from the University of California San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, Krongold and his wife are residents of Costa Mesa, Calif.

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About Spinnaker Investment Group, LLC:

Spinnaker Investment Group, LLC is a privately owned, boutique Investment Company that cares deeply about its clients and is committed to helping them realize their financial independence.   The company’s mission is to deliver the highest level of comprehensive wealth management service, helping customers achieve their financial goals and ultimately establish a safe, secure future.   With more than 30 years of combined investment experience, the Spinnaker team supports this mission by providing expert financial planning, wealth planning, retirement planning, asset management, securities and insurance.  For more information, visit www.SpinnInvest.com.

India

INDIA TARIFFS COULD DENT GAINS FROM CALIFORNIA’S BUMPER ALMOND CROP

Celebrating Diwali in India with California almonds

Fall festivals and the wedding season are already ramping up in India. There’s Janmashtami which celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, the festival for Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God of the Hindus, and Diwali, the famously elegant festival of lights, and many more throughout the various regions of India. Almonds are a popular gift for such occasions.

The timing is perfect for California’s almond growers. Across California’s lush green valleys, almonds are being harvested from orchards, loaded on trucks and delivered to mills where the essential nut will be separated from its shell and hull. Almond traders in India await the arrival of the best quality shipments for the festival season demand beginning early September.

Almonds have deep roots in India

Almonds in India date as far back as prehistoric times. Ancient Indian Sanskrit texts on Ayurveda, the Indian traditional medicine, detail the role of almonds and other nuts in providing health benefits. Almonds were exclusive and prestigious health supplements for the rich and royal during the Mughal rule from the 15th to the 19th century.

To this day, consuming raw almonds on a daily basis as a standalone morning chew, added to milk shakes, as oils or as a garnish to dishes, is widely prevalent in India and elsewhere on the sub-continent.

Indian consumers choose from types of almonds available in Indian street markets and grocery stores – Mamra, Gurbandi and California almonds. California almonds command a majority market share due to its wide availability and lower price. Sweeter in taste, California almonds are favored in Indian cooking and garnishing.

Tariffs could dampen California’s bumper crop

California produces 80 percent of the world’s almonds. Americans consume just over a third of California’s harvest. The remaining 67 percent is exported to other countries. California almond growers are on track for a bumper crop this year, producing a record 2.5 billion pounds of almonds, which would be a nine percent increase of over last year’s crop.

TradeVistas- Global almond production

California growers have reason to worry about access to one of their biggest export markets. The Indian government increased tariffs on U.S. shelled almonds by 20 percent and non-shelled almonds by 17 percent in June. The move came days after the Trump administration announced plans to remove India from eligibility for key trade privileges under the U.S. Generalized System of Preference (GSP) program. India was the biggest beneficiary under the GSP program, exporting $5.6 billion worth of Indian products to the United States duty-free in 2017.

The latest tariff increase by India comes on top of an increase in customs duties last year and in addition to a 12 percent tax the Indian Ministry of Finance imposes on both domestic and imported almonds. The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts the increased cost will cause a five percent drop in U.S. almond exports to India, impacting the 6,800 almond growers in California, who are mostly small to medium-size, family-run enterprises.

According to a study by the Almond Board of California, the almond industry generates more than 100,000 jobs in California, mostly in the Central Valley. Almond growers are California contribute about $11 billion annually to the state’s economy.

“Tomorrow Begins Today”

India has become such an important market for California almond growers that the state almond board has an office in New Delhi with a $5.5 million annual budget.

In July of 2015, the Almond Board of California launched a successful marketing campaign in India, promoting the lesser-known nutrition benefits of almonds such as heart health, weight management and diabetes management.

The campaign, called “Tomorrow Begins Today,” reached 4.05 billion broadcast impressions and is credited with helping grow the snack category by 100 percent.

TradeVistas- Export destinations for U.S. almonds

Tariffs are a tough nut to crack

In the face of new tariffs and competition from Vietnam, Hong Kong, Australia and Chile, California growers need to crack open new markets.

Unfortunately, the tariff wars are being fought in another of California’s important export markets – China. In 2018, China imposed a 50-percent retaliatory tariff on almond imports from the United States. U.S. exports declined by 33 percent from August 2018 to April 2019 compared with the same period of the prior year, according to Almond Board of California.

Higher tariffs could ultimately cost major U.S. fruit and nut industries over $2.6 billion per year in exports, according to a report by Daniel A. Sumner, an economist with the University of California Davis’ Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. The economic blow could rise to as much as $3.3 billion because of lost market share overtaken by lower-priced alternatives from competing exporters.

Australia has taken advantage of their free trade agreement with China to expand exports. The free trade agreement between the two countries grants zero tariffs on almonds and other commodities starting January 1, 2019. Australian producers recorded a 20-fold increase in exports to China this year, according to the Australian Board of Almonds.

Nothing to celebrate

Retaliatory tariffs imposed by India will shortchange the gains hoped for by California almond growers who are expecting a bumper harvest this year, but who also face tariffs in another top export market: China.

Indian importers might look for other sources but no other global exporter can match the volume of production by California’s almond growers. As long as India’s appetite for sweet almonds continues to grow, Indian consumers will pay a higher price for U.S. almonds at their upcoming celebrations.

PBhatnagar

Pragya Bhatnagar is a Research Associate with the Hinrich Foundation where he focuses on International Trade Research. He is a Hinrich Foundation Global Trade Leader Scholar alumnus, earning his Master’s degree in International Journalism, specializing in Business and Financial Journalism, from Hong Kong Baptist University. He received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Lucknow University, India.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

top states

TOP 10 STATES FOR MANUFACTURING 2019

It’s safe to say that most of the products we use daily were manufactured somewhere. From the clothes we wear to the cars we drive, a long line of wheels must be set in motion before the things we own end up in our hands. That’s why manufacturing and the people who manufacture are so important. 

Whether you have a product that needs manufacturing or need a manufacturer to make that product, finding the best team for the job is paramount to your product’s success and your businesses survival. These 10 states have an edge over the rest when it comes to manufacturing. From incentives to low tax rates to education programs that encourage students to consider manufacturing careers, these states are leading the country in manufacturing. Here’s why.

OHIO

With manufacturers in Ohio accounting for 12.56 percent of the state workforce, this Rust Belt state remains a manufacturing powerhouse despite recent shifts in the manufacturing landscape. Though smaller in size than many other states, Ohio is still the third largest in American when it comes to manufacturing, with a total output of $107.95 billion in 2017, and $50.40 billion in exports in 2018. To date, Ohio is home to more than 12,000 manufacturing firms, with 89 percent of those exporters being small businesses. 

MICHIGAN

Boasting total manufacturing output of $96.22 billion in 2017, Michigan has seen a significant resurgence in manufacturing in the past decade. Still king in the motor vehicle and vehicle parts manufacturing marketplace, the Wolverine State has also begun to earn a reputation for manufacturing quality machine parts, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. A small business friendly state, nearly 90 percent of all exporters in Michigan in 2018 were from that sector. Manufactured goods exports in 2018 alone totaled $55.35 billion.

CALIFORNIA

Consistently ranked among the top 10 states for manufacturing in the U.S., the Golden State workforce has nearly 8 percent of its employees working in that sector. California’s total manufacturing output was more than $300 billion in 2017, and 2018 saw nearly $155 billion in exported manufactured goods. With over 25,000 manufacturing firms (of which 93 percent are considered small to medium-sized businesses), California boasts a skilled workforce that is in it for the long haul, with many workers considering manufacturing a career, not just another job. California manufacturing jobs pay an average of over $100,000 in salary and benefits, compared to the U.S. average of $54,329.

TEXAS

Home to its own power grid and no personal or corporate income taxes, Texas is about as business friendly as you can get among the states. With $247.46 billion in manufactured goods exported from the Lone Star State in 2018, manufacturing accounts for 13.33 percent of the total Texas output while employing 7.04 percent of the state’s workforce. They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and the incentive programs in the state are no exception. Between the ample Texas Enterprise Fund, which has invested more than half a billion dollars since 2004, and major cuts to the state’s franchise tax, Texas is poised to remain one of the top manufacturing states in the nation.

NORTH CAROLINA

The second-largest food and beverage manufacturing state and the overall fifth-largest manufacturing state in America, North Carolina is home to the largest manufacturing workforce in the Southeast. The manufacturing industry employs 460,000 skilled workers in North Carolina–nearly 11 percent of the state’s workforce. North Carolina manufacturing makes up about 20 percent of the state’s gross state product, to the tune of $102.48 billion in 2017 and $31.06 billion in exports in 2018. North Carolina has experienced tremendous growth in manufacturing goods in recent years, with a nearly 35 percent increase in exports from 2010 to 2018. North Carolina’s pro-business climate and expert workforce make it an ideal state for manufacturers.

INDIANA

Manufacturing accounts for nearly 30 percent of the output in Indiana, where $102.59 billion was generated in 2017. Manufacturing accounts for almost 20 percent of the state’s workforce, with 516,900 workers employed in the sector statewide–an estimated one in five workers. In fact, Indiana has the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in America. With more than 8,500 manufacturing firms already in the state, Indiana is the second-largest automobile manufacturing state in the nation. Along major truck routes and freight lines, goods manufactured in Indiana can reach 75 percent of the U.S. and Canada’s populations within a day’s drive.

FLORIDA

With more than 12,000 manufacturing firms in Florida, the state has made a big push in recent years to encourage more manufacturing. With the fifth-lowest corporate income tax in the country, the Sunshine State employs more than 331,000 workers in the manufacturing sector. Your manufactured goods can get to their destination with ease, because Florida’s multi-modal transportation system offers everything from air and rail to deep-water shipping and highways, all at a low cost of living and a low cost of doing business.

GEORGIA

Another  Southeast state that’s blazing trails in the manufacturing industry, Georgia boasts more 480,000 manufacturing jobs, ensuring that the future remains bright for the industry. That’s why the Peach State developed the Quick Start program and partnered with many in-state universities to teach rising students the skills they need for careers in manufacturing. Industry employs nearly nine percent of Georgia’s workforce across 6,600 firms. In 2018, manufacturers in the state generated $36.81 billion in exports, with a total manufacturing output of $61.06 billion in 2017.

TENNESSEE

According to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, the state’s growth in advanced manufacturing is higher than anywhere else in the nation; in fact, it’s 42 percent higher than the U.S. average. Manufacturing accounts for 16.13 percent of the state’s total output, which was $55.70 billion in 2017. Tennessee has numerous initiatives to help train its manufacturing workforce, including the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which provides small to medium-sized manufacturers with training and consulting, all with the goal of helping Tennessee-based manufacturers increase competitiveness in the marketplace via workplace initiatives to increase productivity and lower costs.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Over the past decade, South Carolina has seen manufacturing growth of 18 percent, the second largest jump in the Southeast. Manufacturers in the Palmetto State account for a total of nearly 17 percent of the state’s total output and 11.55 percent of South Carolina workers are employed in the manufacturing industry. In 2018, South Carolina’s exported goods totaled $33.89 billion. In 2018, South Carolina earned an A grade in the Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card by Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research and Conexus Indiana. The report rated each state on criteria such as how desirable it is to site selectors, and the share of Income earned by manufacturing workers within the state.

honey

HONEY BEES POLLINATE TRADE OPPORTUNITIES

Harvesting season in the Central Valley

Stretched across some 500 miles throughout California’s Central Valley, almond hulls are splitting open, signaling the beginning of harvesting season.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting that California’s almond growers are set to produce a bumper crop this year of about 2.5 billion pounds, about 70 percent of which will be exported around the world.

It’s an industry that drives about one-quarter of California’s farm exports and generates about $21.5 billion in economic output for the region including growing, processing and manufacturing activities.

A productive crop must be nourished

California is blessed with the perfect climate for almond production, but it must import one of its most important ingredients: pollinators for the almond blooms.

Every February, two out of every three commercial bee hives in the United States are transported to California, their bee residents pressed into service of the almond bloom.

In fact, it’s just the start of an annual food pollinating bee tour. Anywhere from 60 to 75 percent of the bee population kept as livestock crisscross the United States foraging on the blooms of crops that will eventually make their way into our grocery stores and into overseas markets.

Pollinated crop acreage

First stop, almond orchards

For most commercial bees, the pollinating season begins with almonds, California’s largest crop. To provide a sense of scale, Scientific American estimates it takes some two million hives – more than 31 billion honeybees – to pollinate the Central Valley’s 90 million almond trees during their two-week bloom. It’s a symbiotic relationship: the bees gather nectar and pollen to feed their colonies, enabling them to triple their population.

Once almonds bloom in January, hives are moved to other spring-blooming orchards such as cherries and plums in California or apples in the Pacific Northwest. Some head to Texas to pollinate squashes, others to citrus fruit orchards in Florida, and others are dispatched to pollinate cranberries in Wisconsin and cherries in Michigan.

In all, these busy bee travelers pollinate over 90 different crops and then sweeten the deal by shifting into delicious honey production by the end of summer, which they will nourish themselves on over winter while we get to consume the rest. Americans consume a staggering 1.6 pounds of honey per person every year. Even though U.S. beekeepers produced 148 million pounds of honey in 2017 and exported 9.9 million pounds, we imported 447.5 million pounds to keep up with demand from consumers and food producers.

Mobile beehive on trucks
Millions of bees are “exported” state to state to pollinate 90 different American crops.

One in every three bites of food

From cucumbers and citrus fruits to watermelon, kiwis, berries, cherries, apples, melons, peaches, figs, tomatoes, pumpkins and almonds, one-third of the U.S. food supply relies on pollination by the hard-working honey bee.

And, of course, since the United States is a major exporter of agricultural crops, we could say that honey bees help pollinate our trade opportunities. That’s true globally for hundreds of billions worth of crop production and internationally traded food that depends on pollinators.

$15 billion in value for 90 crops

Healthy bees, healthy trade in food

When bees get sick, the health of the U.S. agriculture economy and agricultural exports is imperiled.

Although honey bees are not the only pollinators supporting U.S. agriculture, they are the most important, adding more than $15 billion in value to U.S. agricultural crops each year according to the U.S. Pollinator Health Task Force.

Colony collapse disorder over the last few years drew widespread attention, but the decline in North American honey bees is a long-term trend. In 1947, there were about six million colonies but today we are down to about 2.5 million.

Sharp declines were seen following the introduction in 1987 of an external parasitic mite, aptly named Varroa destructor, that feeds on the blood of honey bees. Loss rates over the winter have been averaging around 31 percent since 2006, far exceeding the 15-17 percent that commercial bee keepers say is economically sustainable.

The rise of monoculture agriculture with increased reliance on pesticides and reduced use of cover crops is thought to add stress on bee health. The bees are struggling to maintain a varied and high-quality diet – they need protein from pollen and carbohydrates from the nectar of flowering plants. Without adequate nutrition, they are also more vulnerable to viruses.

1 in 3 bites

Experts have organized into research consortia, working groups and task forces to try to determine what can be done. The factors negatively impacting bee health are multiple, complex, and interacting, requiring a similarly comprehensive approach to combat them, including restoration of habitats, dissemination of best practices in hive management, and investments in research to better understand how to prevent colony loss.

We are all invested in their success, and when you see honey bees buzzing around your garden this summer, think about the humble but essential role their busywork plays in U.S. food production and agricultural exports.

This article is adapted from “Honey Bee Health is Serious Business” by Andrea Durkin for Progressive Economy.

Andrea Durkin is the Editor-in-Chief of TradeVistas and Founder of Sparkplug, LLC. Ms. Durkin previously served as a U.S. Government trade negotiator and has proudly taught international trade policy and negotiations for the last fourteen years as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s Master of Science in Foreign Service program.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

Coalition For Clean Air Recognizes TTSI for Sustainable Initiatives

The Coalition For Clean Air awarded what is known as the highest award focusing on air quality initiatives to Total Transportation Services, Inc. (TTSI) during the 28th annual Clean Air Awards program. TTSI is a Southern California-based logistics leader specializing in distributing imports throughout North America. TTSI President Victor La Rosa was part of the recognition for spearheading efforts in creating a sustainable company culture and operations, specifically related diesel truck fleets.

“When we committed to the zero-emission transportation pathway, all the technology companies who are manufacturing in the alternative fuels sector sought us out, said Vic La Rosa. “At TTSI, we’ve all learned about alternative fuel technologies, sustainability, and why reducing emissions from diesel matters. We are committed to the environment. We have a Director of Compliance and Sustainability, which has been very fruitful for TTSI, as they’ve been able to focus on what new technologies are emerging that we should incorporate.”

The annual Coalition for Clean Air evaluates and identifies leaders promoting environmental awareness and sustainable initiatives throughout California. TTSI’s focus on clean technology in trucking and supply chain industries is attributed for this year’s recognition, adding to previous recognition from the EPA, the California Air Resources Board and many  Congressional members.

“This year’s California Air Quality Awards Honoree, Vic La Rosa, founded TTSI in 1986, to create a customer-focused business that makes a difference in the trucking industry. TTSI distinguished itself early on by its commitment to sustainable practices and by fostering a company-wide awareness of the urgency to reduce diesel emissions. Vic has tested and put in operation every single type of heavy-duty truck available and has set himself the ambitious goal of converting his entire fleet to zero or near-zero-emission vehicles by 2020,” said the Coalition for Clean Air.

“Vic La Rosa understands clearly that the market is dominated by outdated diesel vehicles and feels there is room for all available clean technologies like renewable natural gas, hydrogen, battery or fuel cell technology,” said Joe Lyou, President & CEO, Coalition for Clean Air and a board member at the South Coast Air Quality Management District. “Like us, Vic hopes that the technology providers will come together to remove diesel trucks from California roads so that we can start making progress toward a clean air future! We’re going to clean up the trucks that use the ports, rail yards and warehouses and Vic is the guy who’s making that happen.”

Source: EIN News

Sun Valley Rice Confirms First-Ever Contract to Export Rice to China

Sun Valley Rice is officially the name behind the very first contract confirming a U.S. company to export rice to China. The company will specifically supply the company’s premium California Calrose medium-grain rice for a variety of purposes including retail and food distribution.

“Fifteen years of patience and hard work have paid off. It is truly an honor and a privilege to blaze this trail of trading history — American rice in China,” said Ken LaGrande, CEO of Sun Valley Rice.

The California-based LaGrande Family Foods Group member company will supply this rice directly to Shenzhen Hong Tai – known as one of the largest importers of rice in the region.

“We chose Sun Valley Rice because when we first toured the U.S., we went to California and witnessed that Sun Valley Rice had clearly studied Asian cultures deeply (especially Japanese and Chinese),” commented William Li, Overseas Director, Shenzhen Yintuo & Vice President, Dragon Ocean Hing Group.

LaGrande Family Foods Group boasts agricultural roots in the Sacramento Valley going back over one hundred years, as the family called the region home in the 1850’s after relocating from France. The company’s location is also known as one of the most ideal regions for growing short and medium-grained rice as it offers an optimal environment and agricultural advantage.

“We understand the role that small, local family farms play in feeding the world — since we come from one,” concluded LaGrande.

Negotiation Team participants (left to right)
Jim Guinn, Director, Asia Promotion Programs, USA Rice Federation; William Li, Overseas Director, Shenzhen Yintuo & Vice President, Dragon Ocean Hing Group, Jim Levy, U.S. Consul General to China, U.S. Embassy; Chris Zhang, President, Dragon Ocean Hing Group; Erin O’Donnell, Assistant Vice President of Global Rice Trading, Sun Valley Rice; Bobby Richey Jr., Minister-Counselor for Agricultural Affairs in China, USDA

Source: LaGrande Family Food Groups: Sun Valley Rice

2019 China-California Business Forum Focuses on Sub-National Cooperation

California’s trade and investment involvement with Chinese provinces will take the spotlight at the third annual 2019 China-California Business Forum scheduled for June 5th in Los Angeles. An estimated 150 top Chinese business leaders are expected to attend with the goal of developing
business opportunities between California and Chinese business leaders.

“As the Chinese Secretariat of the China Provinces and U.S. California Joint Working Group on Trade and Investment Cooperation, CCCME together the seven member provinces all attach great importance to the China-California Business Forum and will actively participate in it as always. Over the past few years, as it has become an important platform of facilitating more exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and Californian businesses, the Forum has been fully recognized by Chinese enterprises and has become an annual focus of China-U.S. sub-national cooperation,” said Liu Chun, Vice President of CCCME.

The forum will take place in downtown at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel and dedicate a full day of various sessions discussing trade and investment, clean-tech, cross-border e-commerce, advanced manufacturing, and more.

“Sub-national cooperation is the foundation of China-U.S. economic and trade relations. The China-California Business Forum plays an important role in promoting this cooperation. The Forum is a joint effort by both sides. It not only brings business opportunities, but also enhances China-U.S. sub-national exchanges and cooperation. I look forward to welcoming more Chinese and California business leaders at the event,” said Amb. Zhang Ping, Chinese Consul General in Los Angeles.

Despite previous trade tensions between the two economy’s, business executives are displaying optimism for both sides to reach an agreement through bilateral trade discussions. This year’s Business Forum will ultimately support efforts to strengthen ties and develop mutually beneficial business initiatives.

“California was the number one recipient of foreign direct investment from China, totaling more than $16 Billion in 2017. We are also home to a vibrant Chinese American community. This forum will build on our strong business and cultural ties, strengthen our international partnerships, and grow our economy.” Said Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis.