NEW CHIEF REBUILDING CALIF. TRADE COMMISSION

NEW CHIEF REBUILDING CALIF. TRADE COMMISSION

With a brand new chief and a full contingent of overseas office representatives, California's World Trade Commission said it is ready to pursue a much more focused agenda.

The office had come under fire after the recent resignation of its former executive director. Among other things, Gov. Pete Wilson was criticized for showing little interest in international business and for supposedly unenthusiastic support for the proposed North American free-trade agreement.Dick Davis, newly appointed head of the world trade commission, said California lawmakers have now taken an aggressive, pro-business posture. The

commission's problems are behind it, he said.

"We are extremely pleased that in 1993 we had the governor of the state, the head of the Senate, the head of the Assembly, and, really, the Legislature as a whole, all pull together in a variety of pro-business issues," Mr. Davis said.

"There were a number of pieces of legislation that helped small business and larger business," he said. "It's an extremely strong indication of the California comeback."

In an interview with The Journal of Commerce, Mr. Davis - who also is deputy secretary of the California Trade and Commerce Agency - said that vacant positions in the state's five overseas trade offices had been filled.

The offices are located in Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Mexico City and Tokyo. Their top officials are meeting in California to refocus the priorities of their agendas for the coming months.

Robin Chiu, who heads the Hong Kong office, said that in addition to doing preparatory work for a planned Asian visit by the governor, he continues to scour the South China region for joint ventures for California companies.

Mr. Chiu also is looking to get the state's agricultural products into markets like China.

His colleague, R.C. Schrader, said the Nafta continues to dominate the activities of the Mexico City office. Little else will occur until the fate of the accord is settled, he said.

The Nafta would unite Canada, the United States and Mexico in a single free-trade zone. Mexico sees California as pivotal in the decision as to whether Nafta is passed or not, Mr. Schrader said.

In the past four years, the trade commission's support of export sales through financial services grew from $127 million to $208 million.