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County supervisors OK agreement with federal agency to boost trade

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Riverside County supervisors signed off Tuesday on plans for a compact with the United States Trade & Development Agency that is intended to bolster area businesses' efforts to expand their goods and services into overseas markets.

Supervisor Kevin Jeffries sought approval of the proposed USTDA agreement, which is slated to be formalized during a ceremonial signing at the World Trade and International Summit in Lake Elsinore on June 6.

Jeffries wrote in his submission to the board that the USTDA was interested in a "strategic partnership with the county . . . to increase exports and global awareness of the county . . . and open new markets for products produced or grown in the county.''

Riverside County Foreign Trade Commissioner Tom Freeman characterized the partnership as a potential "force multiplier'' in terms of drawing more international investors to the region.

The USTDA offers several programs designed to support American businesses trying to access emerging and established foreign markets, according to the agency's website.

In many cases, the agency supplies U.S. taxpayer-funded grants to overseas companies for business ventures that could potentially lead to the use of American firms for products and expertise.

Last month, USTDA awarded $610,000 to a Chilean company interested in setting up a wind energy farm on the island of Chiloe, which lies near the southern end of the South American country.

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