Cal State, Hayward Joins New Latin American Business Consortium
Group will foster trade, education links with Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico
HAYWARD - 01/15/04 - California State University, Hayward is the US partner in a new consortium that will conduct trade missions, research projects and educational exchanges between four Latin American countries - Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico - and the US.
The University, which offers graduate business degrees around the world, will join agencies its partner countries in the newly-created Chamber of International Business (CAMBRA), which was launched in Brazil last December.
New trade pacts between the US and some of these countries and the anticipated ratification of the Free Trade of the Americas agreements by 34 North and South American countries this year puts the new organization "on the cutting edge of international commerce," according to CAMBRA director Pedro Kraus.
Cal State Hayward "will be one of our most important members," said Kraus. "We expect it to be especially active in market research consulting programs for local companies worldwide."
Kraus is a professor of international business at Brazil's Central University of Jaraguá do Sul (UNERJ), which is also a partner in the consortium.
Other members are the Institute of Technology in Monterrey, Mexico; export associations in Argentina and Chile; and the chamber of commerce in Jaraguá do Sul.
"The state of Santa Catarina is at a point now where its companies are ready to make a bigger push into international markets and encourage foreign companies to invest here and we will provide services to help make that happen," Kraus said.
The organization also will conduct international trade fairs, organize trade missions, assist with negotiations and advise on work force training opportunities.
The consortium's base of operations will be the city of Jaraguá do Sul in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. It is a city of 111,000, with industrial clusters producing electric motors, food products, textiles and furniture.
Over the past two years Cal State, Hayward participants in the Transnational Executive MBA program (TEMBA) have prepared studies for clients in those sectors, demonstrating how to introduce specific products into the US market.
Clients for TEMBA in Brazil and Chile include textile mills, agribusiness cooperatives, and companies producing furniture, plumbing fixtures, clothing, shoes, doors, and processed food.
One TEMBA team is working with the Santa Catarina office of tourism, while another is helping a Brazilian client enter the French and German markets. Other potential clients continue to come forward.
Hundreds attended the December 4 inaugural CAMBRA event in Jaraguá do Sul, where official agreements were signed by representatives of the new international chamber.
Signing for Cal State, Hayward was James Kelly, associate vice president for Continuing and International Programs.
"This is a most exciting new venture for us," Kelly told the audience. "With the highest percentage of international students of any of the twenty-three California State University campuses, and graduate business programs all over the world, this is a perfect time and place for us to be involved in this effort."
Kelly is seen in the accompanying photo, second from the left, at the December 4 signing ceremony.
Joing Kelly was (left to right) President Carla Shreiner of Brazil's Central University of Jaraguá do Sul, Paulo Luis Da Silva Matttos, president of the Jaraguá do Sul Chamber of Commerce, and CAMBRA Director Pedro Kraus.
Cal State, Hayward has existing executive MBA programs in Hong Kong, Singapore, Moscow, and Graz, Austria, and is considering opening programs in Florianopolis, Brazil and Shanghai this year.
"We have the most unique College of Business and Economics in the United States," Kelly said. "Just a week ago I was at a ceremony for 65 graduates of our program in Singapore and today I'm in southern Brazil. Earlier this year I was at the celebration of our 10th year in Moscow, where we have 600 alumni. We clearly are the right partner for the countries and agencies involved with CAMBRA."
Nineteen Cal State Hayward TEMBA students and their professors were also on hand at the inaugural event. They arrived a day earlier from Santiago, Chile, where two of their teams were working with a pair of export associations that want to introduce agricultural and industrial products into the US.
In Brazil, three TEMBA teams met with companies who also want to move into the American market. The teams also had four days of presentations on how to do business in South America from UNERJ professors.
The TEMBA program enrolls mid-career and senior executives in the US who participate in a 13-month series of global class modules. It is a self-supporting program, funded by student and client fees.
"CAMBRA is a good way to take advantage of all the resources you've got in the region; the universities, the exporters and the government agencies," said Alvaro Espinosa, a TEMBA participant and international sales manager at Saria International in San Carlos, Calif.
Espinosa has previously done business in Santa Catarina, arranging for the recent shipment of air compressors to Saudi Arabia.
One of the most popular figures at the inaugural CAMBRA event was TEMBA participant Iris Fereira, president of a contracting company with FedEx Services Inc. in Burlingame, California, and formerly a manager at several Brazilian companies.
Reporters from Portuguese-language newspapers and television stations asked why a native Brazilian would return to help Brazilian companies succeed in the international market.
"The reporters especially were interested in knowing why I went to the United States to learn how to export products from Brazil," said Fereira, who left his family's farm in the Brazilian state of Goias six years ago to work in the US. "I told them that I felt I could achieve more of my dreams in America. And now that I'm in the TEMBA program, I'm
helping my country achieve more as well."
Fereira now speaks fluent English and is on a TEMBA consulting team working with leaders of the state tourism agency on how to get more Americans to vacation in Santa Catarina.
Cal State, Hayward's network of connections in Santa Catarina was established in 1998 when the Central University of Jaraguá do Sul began expansion of its international relations program.
"We worked with professor Kraus and professor Martin Desmares to develop a series of product introduction studies by TEMBA students for companies in Santa Catarina," said Shyam Kamath, Cal State Hayward professor, international trade economist, and director of the TEMBA program. "It was a perfect fit, and the CAMBRA connection assures we'll be working together for a long time to come."
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