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California out to spur its overseas trade

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International trade is no small potatoes in California's rich and diversified economy, with total exports and imports last year amounting to $56.2 billion and a healthy jump to about $67.8 billion forecast for 1981.

Impressive numbers, but all the more so when considering the bread-and-water budget the state allocates to development of foreign trade. California's Office of International Trade is operating with a budget of $350,000 this year -- the same as last year -- and its newly appointed director is hopeful of "some increase" in the fiscal 1981-82 outlay. But he admits he's not optimistic.

Still, the director, Floyd Mori, a former assemblyman in the Legislature who was defeated in a bid for a fourth two- year term last November, has ambitious plans to more than just make do with the office's resources.

Mr. Mori was named director by Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. in December. His mission: Make the most of an office that has been in business barely three years and that, besides Mori, operates with a staff of just four professionals and three secretaries.A predecessor agency, the state's Department of Commerce, was killed by the budget-cutting ax of Ronald Reagan when he was governor.

Mori wants to strengthen trade ties between California and its major trading partner, Japan, while expanding trade with Canada and the Asian Pacific rim and breaking new ground in trade with Mexico and the rest of Latin America. Because of geography, those markets offer greater potential than Europe, a rich foreign marketplace but one that realistically deals most directly with the US East Coast.

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