Diplomats Give 'Trade in North America' Briefing at World Trade Center
Consul General of Canada in Dallas Vasken Khabayan speaks about the trading relationship between Arkansas and Canada during his presentation at the World Trade Center Arkansas's briefing on Tuesday, October 23.
The World Trade Center Arkansas held a diplomatic briefing with officials from Canada, Mexico and the Office of Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday, Oct. 23, to inform Arkansas businesses and professionals on the current status of trade relations in North America.
Almost 20 different businesses across multiple sectors were represented among the nearly 50 attendees at the event. World Trade Center officials worked with the dignitaries to create the agenda and plan the topics of the presentations. Attendees had the chance to engage the officials in question and answer sessions throughout the briefing.
Dignitaries and officials that presented were:
- Carlton Saffa, senior strategist for Gov. Asa Hutchinson
- Vasken Khabayan, the consul general of Canada in Dallas
- Fernando Marti, trade and investment commissioner of ProMexico in Dallas
- Rodolfo Quilantan-Arenas, consul general of Mexico in Little Rock
The presentations covered multiple topics regarding the strategic relationship between Canada, Mexico and the United States ranging from security, to energy to economics. Specific issues presented on that concern Arkansas's relationship to these countries included cross-border manufacturing, lucrative trade-dependent sectors, areas for business opportunities and aspects of shared culture.
"This event provided the unique opportunity for the Arkansas business community to hear important updates and engage with the diplomatic officials of our most important trading partners," said Melvin Torres, director of Western Hemisphere Trade for the World Trade Center Arkansas. "Canada and Mexico are Arkansas's most important trading partners with one third of all our exports going to those countries according to the latest reports."
Torres is citing data from the U.S. Census Bureau. According to other data reports compiled by the World Trade Center Arkansas, Canada and Mexico receive $2.2 billion in goods and services from Arkansas and trade with these countries support nearly 120,000 Arkansas jobs. In addition to this, Arkansas exports have increased by 700 percent since 1993 and imports from Canada support more than seven of Arkansas's most important industries, including agriculture, transportation, chemicals and forestry products.
The mission of the World Trade Center Arkansas is to grow trade and increase Arkansas exports by connecting Arkansas businesses to the world through international trade services. The center is part of the University of Arkansas and serves as the trade promotion arm for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. For more information and valuable updates, please follow the Center on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to the World Trade Center Arkansas newsletter.
Sam Cushman, strategic communications and public information
World Trade Center Arkansas
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