VITA Newsletter June 2015

A Note from your VITA Chairman

In the coming months, in addition to meeting and exchanging ideas with other business persons who are working at, and servicing others engaged in import and export trade, we plan to bring you programs such as “Exporting in the Connected World” with distinguished authors Mark Matsumoto and Miguel Olivares.

Save the date to “Meet the Board,” an opportunity to meet and chat with VITA Board members who will share their expertise in subjects that range the spectrum of import and export functions on November 18 at 8am. We are also working on arranging a tour by boat of the Port of Los Angeles where you will get a first hand look at what happens to your freight where it begins its ocean journey.

In 2016, we will offer great global networking breakfasts on exporting for companies not already selling abroad with Nancy Hiromoto from N.F Stroth and Associates, LLC., as well as a special program on “Assessing Demand in Export Markets” as a necessary skill that must be exercised before expending any effort or funds in assessing the potential of a particular market with Delia Valdivia from U.S. Commercial Service.

Our best and continued success to you, and we look forward to seeing you soon,

Robert Rodine, The Polaris Group
2015 Chairman, VITA

The Impact of the Foreign Currency Market on International Organizations with AFEX

Frank Hallak, Business Development Executive from AFEX discussed How to Manage Foreign Exchange Volatility at the VITA Global Networking Breakfast on Wednesday, May 27, at 8:00 am. AFEX is a trusted global payment and risk management solutions specialist with a heritage that dates back to 1979. AFEX offers a comprehensive range of global payment and foreign exchange services, including Foreign Currency Drafts, Wire Transfers, risk management tools and designated Account Executives. They handle every aspect of a client’s foreign payment needs, from risk consultation to transaction execution.

With a diverse client base of more than 24,000 active commercial clients including importers and exporters, educational and financial institutions, small businesses, multinational corporations and individuals, AFEX recognizes the distinct requirements of each client. They take considerable pride in creating unique and strategically adept global payment and foreign exchange solutions to meet their clients’ financial goals.

Frank discussed current market trends,  case examples, and tools to combat market volatility. Visit to learn more.

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council was the event sponsor.

Visit to see full presentation.

Port of Long Beach sees strongest May in 9 Years

Improving Retail Market Propels Continued Long Beach Growth

Cargo rose at the Port of Long Beach by 6 percent in May, the third consecutive month of growth, the busiest month since October 2007, and the busiest May since 2006.

A total of 635,250 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containerized cargo were moved through the Port in May. Imports numbered 327,317 TEUs, a 4.8 percent increase from the same month last year. Exports decreased 7.4 percent to 135,855 TEUs. Empty containers rose 22.6 percent to 172,078 TEUs. With imports exceeding exports, empty containers are sent overseas to be refilled with goods.

Cargo volume is up partly due to a stronger retail market. The Port is also attracting new services in order to boost cargo growth.

Through the first five months of 2015, cargo is up 1.1 percent overall.

With an ongoing $4 billion program to modernize its facilities, the Port of Long Beach continues to invest in long-term, environmentally sustainable growth.

For more details on the cargo numbers, please visit

Doing It My Way: The Story of Ralph Slotnick and his Success as an International Entrepreneur

As a boy working in his family’s bakery, VITA Member Ralph Slotnick learned that, in order to lead the life he wanted, he would need to be the boss of his own business and rely on his own hard work, tenacity, and business savvy to get where he wanted to go.

Slotnick forged a path entirely on his own, with little business sense. After a stint in the US Navy and working as a traveling factory representative, he started the Institute of International Commerce (IIC) and watched it grow; eventually doing business in 17 countries.

Slotnick’s life story is about the triumph of the American Dream over adversity. The book is packed with inspiration and plenty of good advice. Visit to get your copy.

IIC offers an international business course that will teach you everything you need to know about becoming an international entrepreneur online. Each topic is taught in a simple, easy-to-understand format so that you can focus on learning what you can use to enter the world of global trade and get started with your international business. Visit to learn more.

Starting & Growing a Business

Legal & Financial Knowledge You Need to Succeed

Join The Port of Los Angeles at the LA Law Library to learn all about starting and growing your business. This 12-part series continues until August 28, 2015.

The business workshop series will cover what banks are looking for when you apply for loans. You will also learn about other funding options for your business. Register at

Change in Spanish VAT Refund Regulations as of January 2015

The Spanish government has decided to refund VAT for some of their services to non-EU entities as of January 2015. This is a major breakthrough since Spain previously did not refund VAT 13 Directive to North American companies. Some of the expenses for which VAT will be refunded are services related to the attendance of fairs, congress and expositions of commercial or professional events. Related services include event access, accommodation, meals and transportation.

Please contact Euro VAT Refund’s VAT experts for further information.

Ocean & River Shoreline Erosion Plague Our Global Landscape

by Dick L. Holmberg, MBITA contributor; Founder, Holmberg Technologies, Inc.

Dick L. Holmberg is a naturalist and master mariner with a long history in solving erosion and other related problems plaguing the earth’s beaches, undersea areas and waterways. His companies have completed more than 1,000 erosion control projects.

Holmberg has observed modern water management practices along with conventional marine engineering designs that have altered and turned rivers and streams into systems of drainage, navigation and sewage disposal and from an ecological sense are no longer rivers but plumbed channels that create erosion and flush waste. Natural river systems, long a symbol of life in the art of all cultures, now carry death and loss to our seas in the form of upland runoff that transport hazardous materials, waste and contaminated sediments that are no longer filtered through fresh water flood plains, wetlands and coastal deltas.

Holmberg discovered that these unnatural erosion and de-stabilization processes are progressively and rapidly degrading and depleting fresh water supplies throughout the world as they actively destroy nature’s fresh water filtration and soil retention systems: coastal beaches, deltas, flood plains, shallows, shoals wetlands, etc. whose functions were to protect and retain upland fresh water supplies and soils. This loss is the main reason for two of earth’s main resources, its’ arable soil and fresh water, are vanishing from the earth’s upland areas.

Holmberg pioneers the development of an evolutionary coastal restoration technology. His “Undercurrent Stabilizer”(UCS) systems are successful and very beneficial without undesirable side effects.

One of Holmberg’s most outstanding achievements was discovering how to reverse beach erosion to a natural state of accretion by using his patented USS System. He also designed a system to counteract sub-sea structural settlement caused by wave induced liquefaction, motion and seismic activity.

For over 30 years, Dick Holmberg has been commercially field testing miscellaneous plant species along open coastlines to evaluate their growth and survival rates in altering terrains and ability to adapt to harsh conditions. He also developed specialized techniques to restore dunes, rebuild undercut hillsides and landscape bluffs ranging in height from a few to several hundred feet high.

His concepts for solving earth’s bio-sphere problems have been successfully tested beyond the standardized formats and are considered state of the art for preserving and restoring the world’s interrelated eco-systems.

Please contact the MBITA office at (831) 335-4780 for further details.

New U.S. Customs Facility at Van Nuys Airport

Van Nuys Airport (VNY) launched U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) services for arriving international flights that will benefit business travelers, fuel the local economy and reduce airspace congestion in the Southern California region. A dedicated 1,528 square-foot clearance facility officially opened on May 21, 2015 under the federal User Fee Airport Program, which reimburses CBP for all operating costs with fees collected from arriving aircraft.

“Van Nuys Airport is one of the most important civil aviation hubs in the country,” said U.S. Congressman Tony Cárdenas. “After years of advocating the return of customs services, I am proud to say that it is now the only general aviation airport in Los Angeles with an on-site Customs and Border Protection facility. I am very pleased about the jobs that the new Customs station will create, both at Van Nuys Airport and for airport customers throughout the San Fernando Valley.”

The return of CBP services adds significant convenience for arriving international travelers who can fly directly to VNY without stopping at another airport to clear customs. In addition to saving private jet travelers time and money, the service benefits the environment by reducing emissions from repositioning flights and decreasing overall operations within Southern California’s congested airspace.

DISCOVER Pacific Rim Consumer Markets from Seoul to Santiago!

Join the U.S. Commercial Service and the District Export Council of Southern California at a dynamic 2-day conference focused on consumer markets throughout Asia and the Pacific Region, Discover Global Markets: Pacific Rim Consumers, on October 29 and 30, at the Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa.

U.S. exporters will have the opportunity for private, one-on-one consultations with in-country U.S.commercial diplomats and sector specialists for customized market advice.  The conference will also include in-depth country panels, keynotes and workshops with senior executives and specialists on consumer trends, brand strategy, internet marketing, distribution channels, trade finance, E-Commerce, and protecting your Intellectual Property Rights.

Cost to attend is $325. For more information, agenda, and to register, please visit:

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