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Global trade comes calling.

Little Rock Gains International Flavor

Finding evidence that the global economy has arrived on the Arkansas home front is becoming as easy as finding a Texas tourist vacationing here during the summer.

Chinese capitalists, Japanese retailers, Russian engineers, a German trade envoy, Dutch consultants and entrepreneurs all paid visits to the Little Rock area during a recent 10-day period.

"This is a normal situation," says Charles Sloan, director of the trade and international investments division of the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission. "There's a lot more international trade activity than people realize."

Foreign exports directly and indirectly accounted for $6 billion in Arkansas business during 1994, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 the U.S. Commerce Department. That represents a 15 percent chunk of the gross state product and an estimated 10 percent of all jobs in Arkansas.

The growth of global commerce has pushed the signs of international trade, often hidden behind corporate doors, into the public arena.

"The world keeps getting smaller," says Joe O'Brien Joe O'Brien is the head men's basketball coach at Idaho State University. Head Coaching Record

Season Team Overall
Idaho State (Big Sky Conference) (2007 — )
2007–2008 Idaho State 0-0 0-0
Idaho State: 0-0 0-0
, president of O'Brien International Services Inc. of Little Rock. "It's extremely exciting looking into the next century."

Several representatives of a venture with socialist roots in mainland China came to Arkansas in early May on a capitalistic cap·i·tal·is·tic  
1. Of or relating to capitalism or capitalists.

2. Favoring or practicing capitalism: a capitalistic country.
 reconnaissance mission.

The Cadalong International Capital Corp. group visited Arkansas financiers May 8-11. Cadalong is a subsidiary of Beijeng-based China National Aero Technology Import and Export Corp., the Chinese government's Department of Aviation.

Besides overseeing aviation, CATIC CATIC China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation
CATIC Connecticut Attorneys Title Insurance Company
 operates factories and acts as trading arm for industry and consumers. The total value of its import/export business tops $6 billion.

The visit by Cadalong officials presented a threefold mission. First, the group wanted to learn more about Arkansas sources of financing that might aid trade. Issuing corporate bonds and converting to a public corporation were two areas of prime discussion.

Secondly, the businessmen were interested to find out about investment opportunities in Arkansas. They expressed special interest in private placement possibilities in ventures with growth potential, especially manufacturing operations Manufacturing operations concern the operation of a facility, as opposed to maintenance, supply and distribution, health, and safety, emergency response, human resources, security, information technology and other infrastructural support organizations.  with export potential to China.

The final venue of discussion revolved around aviation. The group was particularly keen on producing aircraft that could pass muster by the Federal Aviation Administration Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), component of the U.S. Department of Transportation that sets standards for the air-worthiness of all civilian aircraft, inspects and licenses them, and regulates civilian and military air traffic through its air traffic control .

Such FAA-certified aircraft would give the Chinese entry into the prime global markets of developed nations. The aviation industry in Little Rock and northwest Arkansas drew the group's added attention.
1994 Arkansas Export Breakdown

Manufactured goods           $4.3 billion
Agriculture commoditiest     $1.3 billion
Services                        1 billion

The Cadalong group will return in about five weeks for more legwork leg·work  
n. Informal
Work, such as collecting information or doing research in preparation for a project, that involves much walking or traveling about.
 on trade opportunities, says O'Brien, who coordinated the Arkansas visit.

"It was very, very positive, and they're going to be coming back," he says. "The only issue in setting a date is when their boss from Beijing will visit their office in Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. ."

O'Brien says the Cadalong group wanted to expand its exploration of U.S. commerce beyond the East Coast and West Coat. Overall, they see Arkansas as having a more hospitable business climate than California.

For the most part, Cadalong is carrying a mandate of "anything goes" socialist exposure to a variety of products.

"They're very wide open, and the discussion was very broad," says Steve Carleson, first vice president and manager at the Little Rock office of Merrill Lynch Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MER TYO: 8675 ), through its subsidiaries and affiliates, provides capital markets services, investment banking and advisory services, wealth management, asset management, insurance, banking and related products and services on a global basis.  Inc.

A luncheon with the group served as a probing session for business opportunities that included commodity investments, small companies for sale, venture capital deals and real estate. "We're going to do some research and see if we can work with them on that," Carleson says.

The Chinese also expressed their desire to invest money in the Mid-South in talks with Stephens Inc. of Little Rock and Llama llama (lä`mə), South American domesticated ruminant mammal, Lama glama, of the camel family. Genetic studies indicate that it is descended from the guanaco.  Co. of Fayetteville.

Land of the Rising Sun

Businessmen from another part of the Orient were in Little Rock for a three-day visit May 18-20. A 40-member Japanese delegation came to town as part of an ongoing relationship established by Naonobu Sasho, president of Odoya Co.

The firm operates 13 grocery stores, two bookstores, a variety store, a building material company and a real estate business. Sasho received honorary Arkansas citizen papers when he brought a group of Japanese businessmen to Little Rock in 1993. The token gesture so moved Sasho that a store near Tokyo was renamed "Little Rock."

Sasho visited Arkansas at the urging of a business associate - Masa Kasuga, owner of Arkansas' Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock. Kasuga is interested in developing business connections between the Japanese and Arkansans.

This dovetailed with Sasho's high regard for the business philosophies of the late Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founder, Sam Walton Samuel Moore Walton (March 29 1918 – April 6 1992), born in Kingfisher, Oklahoma was the founder of two American retailers Wal-Mart and Sam's Club. He was the patriarch of the Walton family, one of the richest families in the world. . The Odoya group of store managers and other business associates are scouting out Arkansas products to sell in their stores and paying calls to study area retailers like Wal-Mart and Sam's Club Sam's Club is a membership-only warehouse club owned and operated by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. History
The first Sam's Club opened in April 1983 in Midwest City, Oklahoma in the United States.[1]

Sam's Club is named after Sam Walton.

"There's a tremendous respect for Wal-Mart and the way they do business," says Linus Raines, general manager of the Excelsior, who is hosting and overseeing the Odoya visit.

The Odoya group plans to make annual trade trips to Arkansas in an effort to reinforce the ties between the company and Little Rock. It's one of more than 70 foreign business groups the Excelsior has played host to in the past two years.

Russians, Germans & Dutch

A reception was held May 16 for a group of Russian engineers training with U-Liner Mid-America Inc. in Alexander. The group is undergoing training with company officials and will leave for the Russian Far East Russian Far East, formerly Soviet Far East, federal district (1989 est. pop. 7,941,000), c.2,400,000 sq mi (6,216,000 sq km), encompassing the entire northeast coast of Asia and including the Sakha Republic, Maritime Territory (Primorsky Kray),  on June 6.

The technology exchange program will help rebuild water and wastewater treatment facilities in Russia. The project is envisioned as leading to more trade opportunities involving services and equipment.

Another recent foreign trade visitor was Fritz Reuter Fritz Reuter (November 7, 1810 – July 12, 1874) was a German novelist. Life
Reuter was born at Stavenhagen in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, a small country town where his father was burgomaster and sheriff (Stadtrichter
, director for the Bremen World Trade Center and the North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere.  office of Bremen Business International.

BBI BBI Blockbuster Inc. (stock symbol)
BBI Berlin Brandenburg International (Airport)
BBI Broadband-Interactive
BBI Browser-Based Interface
BBI Best Brains Inc.
 is the international economic development and trade promotion arm of the German state of Bremen. Reuter was in Arkansas to promote the use of Bremen's distribution and port facilities, the second largest in Deutschland.

Reuter was making the rounds in Little Rock on May 11-13 with Thomas Lutz, executive director of the Mid-South International Trade Association.

A trade delegation from the Netherlands was in Arkansas exploring mutually beneficial Adj. 1. mutually beneficial - mutually dependent
interdependent, mutualist

dependent - relying on or requiring a person or thing for support, supply, or what is needed; "dependent children"; "dependent on moisture"
 trade opportunities for poultry and other agri products.

The list of foreign businessmen making trade connections in Arkansas keeps growing while the globe they trot around seems to be shrinking.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:includes related article; Little Rock, AR
Author:Waldon, George
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:May 22, 1995
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