The recent House vote, along with expected Senate passage of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China, is probably the single most important action Congress can take that will not only improve the economy and quality of life here in the United States and in California, but also abroad.

Granting PNTR to China provides new opportunities for California companies to conduct trade with China, currently the state's 11th largest export market. Trade with China currently supports 30,000 jobs in California ports, farms, financial institutions and retail establishments, and with the passage of this agreement that number will undoubtedly rise.

Passage of PNTR with China means we are gaining open access to compete in a huge, virtually untapped market. Roughly one out of five potential customers on the entire planet is from China, and they are going to want and need our U.S.- and California-made products. California's economy especially will get a major boost with increased demand for its high-tech, agriculture, retail, aerospace, entertainment and manufacturing products, to name a few. That means more California jobs, which we need to meet population growth estimates.

While we have high expectations today about opening China's markets and the benefits that will come from it, I wouldn't be surprised if we find in the future that those expectations were not only met, but exceeded.

ALLAN ZAREMBERG

President

California Chamber of

Commerce

Repeal Vending-Machine Tax

Hundreds of thousands of Californians rely on vending-machine products every day. From military bases and hospitals to dorm rooms, vending machines offer workers and students convenient access to affordable beverages and snack food items.

The current tax on snacks from vending machines is not in keeping with the will of California voters, who eliminated the tax for the same items sold in grocery and convenience stores back in 1992. The tax threatens their availability to all consumers, especially those whose budgets are more limited, and it should be eliminated.

Lawmakers are currently engaged in developing a tax relief package to be adopted when the budget is passed, and it's only fair that repealing this tax is part of the package.

RICHARD D. LIPKA

Chief Financial Officer

MAB Services Inc.

Los Angeles

There Is a Downtown Market

The recent article "Downtown L.A. May Be Ready to Land a Store" (June 5) contends that a crucial ingredient a supermarket is still missing. Well, there happens to be a full-service supermarket (with plenty of secured, free parking, I might add) right in downtown's Little Tokyo district.

The Mitsuwa Marketplace (located inside the big gray building at Third and Alameda streets) is an under-appreciated gem, in my opinion. While it primarily stocks Asian specialty foods, there is a large selection of non-ethnic specific offerings an excellent produce and meat section, a large selection of frozen foods, and the freshest, most delicious fish imaginable.

I'm a non-Asian professional female (former Vons shopper), and can find almost everything I need there. As a bonus, the prices are low, and the market is remarkably clean, well-lit and organized.

Perhaps the lack of an identifying sign on the face of the building is what caused your reporter to overlook it. Driving by, it isn't apparent that there's a supermarket inside. I think new downtown residents would benefit from knowing about this valuable resource.

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