The Riverside County Board of Supervisors today approved making formal arrangements with the Port of Los Angeles to handle more county-made and grown manufacturing and agricultural products bound for foreign shores.
"We have doubled our exports (in the last five years)," said board Chairman John Tavaglione. "Our manufacturers here are opening other avenues through trade agreements. ... That's resulted in (more) containers leaving the Port of L.A., going to other parts of the world."
The supervisors voted unanimously to authorize the county's Economic Development Agency to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the port that would ensure that future county-originating exports flow freely through the harbor.
"Having a partnership with the Port of Los Angeles will be of great benefit to our business community, our county and the Port of Los Angeles," Tavaglione said.
Specifics about what the MOU will entail were not explicit. But according to county Foreign Trade Commissioner Tom Freeman, the compact would pave the way for additional agreements on an as-needed basis to facilitate county goods.
The county has four tax-advantaged Foreign Trade Zones—where there are no import duties—as well as programs that provide expedited visa processing for investor immigrants and loans through the Export-Import Bank.
In 2011, in conjunction with the San Diego Foreign Trade Zone.
According to Freeman, 25,000 local jobs are directly tied to the regional export market, which is valued at around $11.5 billion annually.
—Maggie Avants contributed to this report.