CITD Hosts Workshop on How to Find and Manage Distributors Globally

Finding the right foreign buyers for a business’ products and services can be challenging, yet vital to the success of exporting efforts. To help businesses overcome this challenge, the San Diego CITD hosted a workshop on how to find and manage foreign buyers and distributors. The workshop provided participants with information on tools and resources for finding qualified foreign buyers. San Diego CITD Director, Victor Castillo, welcomed the group and introduced the speaker, Carrie Brooks, Senior International Trade Specialist with the U.S. Department of Commerce, who presented on how to use online resources to find and vet potential buyers and distributors globally. Additionally, Mrs. Brooks discussed how to stimulate sales from international distributors and resellers and how to avoid the most common mistakes companies make when selling abroad.

The “Finding and Managing Distributors Globally” workshop was part of the CITD’s Export University series of workshops, geared toward helping companies optimize their export potential and grow globally. Check the CITD calendar for date and more information on upcoming workshops in this series.

San Diego CITD and Southwestern College Host City of San Diego Small Business Advisory Board Meeting

The City of San Diego’s Small Business Advisory Board (SBAB) advises the Mayor and City Council on matters that enhance the capability of small businesses in San Diego to succeed. There are 11 board members, consisting of small business owners and business advocates, appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. The SBAB typically meets on the third Friday of every month at the Downtown Central Library, however, the board recently took their meetings on the road for a three-part series aimed at sitting down with experts from San Diego’s thriving industries in different communities throughout San Diego.

On June 13th, the San Diego CITD and Southwestern College hosted an SBAB meeting which focused on discussing strategies for expanding businesses into international markets. Southwestern College Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Renee Kilmer, provided opening remarks and welcomed everyone to the college’s Higher Education Center in Otay Mesa prior to the start of the meeting. The meeting featured a panel discussion with business owners engaged in international trade, as well as representatives from organizations that provide trade assistance. The guest speakers on the panel included Carrie Brooks, Senior International Trade Specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service, Sylvia Casas-Jolliffe, President of CASAS International Brokerage, Victor Castillo, Director of the San Diego CITD, Drew Garrison, Manager at the World Trade Center San Diego, and Jeff Silver, President of Rough Draft Brewing Company. Each panel member had a few minutes to introduce themselves and their company or organization and then had an opportunity to answer questions from the Board about the importance of trade in the region and how to expand opportunities for small businesses to grow internationally.

The City of San Diego’s SBAB meetings are open to the public. Visit the SBAB website for additional information on the board and upcoming meetings.

Thank You to the San Diego CITD Interns

The San Diego CITD and Deputy Sector Navigator for Global Trade provides work-based learning opportunities through its internship program. The program is open to community college, university, and high school students and provides a way for them to learn about global trade, enhance their soft skills, and acquire work experience. Some students in the internship program also earn industry-recognized certifications in supply chain management through the CITD’s SCPro Fundamentals certification program, which is offered in collaboration with the Center for Supply Chain Education at Broward College and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP).
Over the last year, the CITD has hosted 14 interns from various colleges, universities, and high schools in the region, including: Zach Curtis, Daisy Ortiz, Hassan Hunt, and Chloe Seradj from High Tech High Chula Vista, Alexandra Lombard from e3 Civic High School, Julio Gonzalez, Aranzazu Santana, and Nylza Lujan from Southwestern College, Jesus Calderon, Jennifer Diaz Vazquez, Louise Haglund, and Guillermo Aguilar from SDSU, Roberto Tapia from UCSD, and Isai Castillo from CSU San Marcos. As part of their internship, the interns worked on a variety of database and market research projects for CITD clients, helped keep some of our program websites up to date, witnessed trade in action through company tours and the MEXPORT trade show, and participation in Export University workshops. Five of the interns also earned certifications through the SCPro Fundamentals certification program, some of whom were able to leverage the certifications into jobs with local employers after their internships.
Zach, Daisy, Hassan, Chloe, Alexandra, Julio, Aranzazu, Nylza, Jesus, Jennifer, Louise, Guillermo, Roberto, and Isai were of great help to the CITD and its clients. It was a pleasure to have hosted them and wish them success in all their future endeavors.

CITD Helps to Organize California Pavilion at Mexicali Supply Expo 2016

The Mexicali Supply Expo was born with the mission to strengthen and support the supply chain at a local, regional, national and international level for industrial sectors in the City of Mexicali.

February 25th 2016 marked the 6th edition of Mexicali Supply Expo. The event began promptly at 8:30AM with an opening ceremony that included local Mexicali Government Officials like ProMexico’s Northwest Region General Coordinator Gilberto Macias, Baja California Ministry of Economic Development Promotion Director Roberto Durazo, National Chamber of Industry Transformation Mexicali Chapter Secretary Mr. José Eugenio Lagarde and U.S. Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Timothy Kelly to name a few.

California Pavilion Mexicali SupplyAmong the many exhibitors, six were buyer companies who were there to exhibit products manufactured and assembled in their plants and what they require in raw materials and service from suppliers. The San Diego CITD helped to organize a California Pavilion within the expo where CITD clients were able to have their product and service offerings on display. CITD partner agencies including the U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Export – Import Bank, San Diego and Imperial Valley District Export Council and the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation were also part of the pavilion. In addition to the pavilion, the CITD helped to arrange meetings with potential customers for its clients in attendance.

Parallel to the trade show there were technical conferences offered to attendees. These conferences addressed topics like reduction of energy consumption in industrial projects and challenges in supplying the manufacturing sector.

U.S. Customs Will Have Reduced Hours of Operation on Presidents Day

Via Roberto Gallegos of Globe Trade Services ( , U.S. Customs will have reduced hours of operation on Monday, February 15th, 2016 in observance of the Presidents Day holiday. The hours of operation will be as follows:

Mexico to United States (Northbound)

Trucks with Merchandise – 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Empty Trucks – 8:00 AM – 3:30 PM

United States to Mexico (Southbound)

Trucks with Merchandise – 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Empty Trucks – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Normal hours of operation will resume on October 13th.

CITD Participates in Chula Vista Small Business Seminar and Resource Expo

The City of Chula Vista and the California State Board of Equalization hosted a Small Business Seminar and Resource Expo at the City’s Council Chambers on January 28th. The free event featured a series of seminars on topics including Sales and Use Tax, forms of ownership, record keeping, differences between employee and independent contractor, and loan programs and services. Event participants also had an opportunity to visit the expo of resource and service providers during breaks scheduled in between the seminars. The San Diego CITD participated in the expo where staff members, Gabriel Reyes and Monica Rosas, had the opportunity to meet with some of the more than 300 participants at the event and provide information on the services available through the CITD to help them grow their businesses through international trade.

Additional photos from the event:

(Source: City of Chula Vista)
(Source: City of Chula Vista)

San Diego CITD and SBA Host Exporting Workshop

The San Diego CITD, in conjunction with the San Diego District Office of the Small Business Administration (SBA), hosted a workshop on January 28th aimed at existing business owners looking to export their products or services. The “Your Roadmap to Exporting” workshop—presented by CITD Director Victor Castillo—provided participants with a step-by-step guide for how to export, including how to conduct an export assessment, how to do international market research, find buyers, create and export plan, and sources of financing, among other matters.

In addition to the learning the nuts and bolts of exporting from Mr. Castillo, workshop participants also learned about small business assistance programs and resources from Cynthia Harris, Economic Development Specialist with the San Diego District Office of the SBA. To address a common hurdle small businesses face when looking to export, Sandra Donzella—Regional Director for San Diego and Imperial Counties for EXIM Bank—discussed financing options available through EXIM that can provide businesses with working capital to facilitate export transactions.

This workshop was the first in a series of training events geared toward businesses that are either new to export or are looking to expand into additional markets. Additional workshops in the series will provide comprehensive information on financing, finding foreign buyers, as well as logistics and transportation. Check the CITD calendar for dates and more information.

Additional photos from this event:

sandra_exim cindy_sba

First in a Series of California-Mexico Trade & Investment Dialogues Held in San Diego

The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and ProMéxico—Mexico’s trade and investment agency—together with various economic development and trade agencies, including the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, San Diego Regional EDC, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s Office, and the U.S. Commercial Service, hosted the first in a series of California-Mexico trade and investment dialogues at SDGE’s Innovation Center in Kearny Mesa.  These dialogues are a result of Governor Jerry Brown’s 2014 Trade and Investment Agreement with the Mexican Government, which aims to boost economic, cultural, and academic cooperation with Mexico.

The event featured three panel discussions on topics that included: Movement of People and Goods Along the Border, San Diego-Baja Region Economic Advantages, and Cross Border Business Opportunities. San Diego CITD Director, Victor Castillo, participated as a panelist on the San Diego-Baja panel and provided an overview of the state’s trade activity with Mexico as well as his perspective on the advantages Baja’s growing manufacturing sector brings for businesses in the region. Additional dialogue events will be held throughout the state in the coming months.

Sweetwater High School Students Learn About Global Careers

Students in Sweetwater High School’s Health Career Academy took a break from their regular science and healthcare courses to learn about a seemingly different career pathway – Global Trade & Logistics. Although at first glance healthcare and global trade do not seem interconnected, digging deeper reveals that healthcare, and its related services and technologies, is an important and growing industry sector for international trade.


As a way to explain this connection and provide her students with information on additional career pathways, Sweetwater High School Medical Biology teacher, Jessica Sphar, invited SB1070 Regional Pathways Industry Connections Coordinator (ICC) for Global Trade & Logistics, Monica Rosas to present to her 9th and 10th grade classes. As an ICC under the SB1070 Regional Pathways program, one of Ms. Rosas’ goals is to increase student success by helping to develop Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways in high-need, high-growth, or emerging regional economic sectors.  To make the presentation a richer experience for the students, Ms. Rosas—who is also an International Trade Advisor for the CITD—invited Lynn Hijar, President & CEO of iBiz 24/7, an online international business resource company. During the presentations, both Ms. Rosas and Ms. Hijar stressed the importance of global trade in the region’s economy and workforce, and also provided real life scenarios on how trade works.

Additional Photos:
San Diego CITD

Center for International Trade Development Honored for Local Partnership

Posted by Southwestern College on 01/12/16:

A Southwestern College-based center that promotes international trade in California has been honored for its partnership with a San Diego trade group in providing educational and training programs.

The San Diego Center for International Trade Development (CITD) is part of Southwestern College and was recognized working with the San Diego Custom Brokers Association in helping members of the Brokers Association stay informed on the latest regulatory developments related to customs compliance, homeland security issues, and more.

The San Diego Custom Brokers Association comprises some 40 local and national brokers and serves the ports of San Diego, Otay Mesa, Tecate, Calexico and Andrade. It presented the CITD with a plaque commending the agency for its continued support in promoting international trade.

“We have a very good, collaborative arrangement with the San Diego Custom Brokers Association and we have worked closely with them on a number of educational programs over the years,” said CITD Director Victor Castillo. “It’s nice to be recognized for the role that Southwestern College and the Center for International Trade Development is playing.”

Customs brokers are licensed, regulated and authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to help importers and exporters in meeting federal requirements, and as such, play a pivotal role in international trade. Brokers submit necessary information and appropriate payments to Customs and Border Protection on behalf of their clients and are required to be experts in entry procedures, admissibility requirements, classification, valuation, and the rates of duty and applicable taxes and fees.

“The CITD has helped us tremendously, allowing us to use their facilities at Southwestern College, to provide educational opportunities for the industry and promoting the educational needs in our community,” said Myrna Aguilar, Vice President of the San Diego Custom Brokers Association.

Established in 1989, the California Centers for International Trade Development are funded by the Chancellor’s Office of the State of California to promote the state’s standing in international commerce and advance economic and growth. The CITDs assist California business to expand internationally as well as help colleges become more globalized.

The stakes are huge. San Diego metropolitan region exported goods totaling $18.6 billion in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, accounting for 10 percent of the state’s merchandise exports. The state’s largest market was Mexico, with merchandise exports of $25.4 billion to that country in 2014, according to the Department of Commerce.

The CITD offers education, technical assistance and training services to firms doing business, or seeking to do business, globally.  Services include free or low cost import and export education programs; one-on-one counseling; access to international trade shows; and opportunities to join trade missions.