World Trade Week History



The World Trade Week concept was conceived in 1926 and first observed in Southern California in 1927. World Trade Week was founded by Stanley T. Olafson, then manager of the World Trade Department of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. This occured during a time of isolationism and under the conditions prevailing during teh heyday of the restrictive Smoot-Hawley Tarriff Act.

By 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had officially proclaimed World Trade Week a national observance by the U.S. Government. Initially created to promote the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, World Trade Week expanded its scope following World War II to include all facilities and organizations in the Southern California area involvled in world trade.

Today, World Trade Week actively promotes the positive aspects of international trade that are vital to a strong local and national economy, under the guidance of founding sponsors the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles World Airports, the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles. The original weeklong observance has now grown to more than 40 events held each May in Southern California.  

View World Trade Week historical photos.


Every year World Trade Week garners media attention. Read past articles, going back to the 1940s, on the significance of World Trade Week. Read more.


World Trade Week has received numerous proclamations from elected officials. Read more.


Southern California's World Trade Week observance is the most extensive and unique program of its kind in the country. The breakfast is designed to promote the importance of international trade, and more than 500 executives and members of the diplomatic corps attend each year. Read more.

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