“It’s a good day to be a Virginian,” Ralph Northam, the Governor of Virginia, Said Wednesday during his keynote remarks at the Virginia Chamber of Commerce-sponsored 71st Virginia Conference on World Trade. He spoke before 220 registrants in a packed ballroom with an additional standing room in the back.
The governor’s enthusiasm stemmed from his announcement of the first-ever International Trade Strategic Plan for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The plan will make Virginia’s businesses more competitive in the international market by expanding their foreign trade networks, as well as enticing more export-intensive companies to open in Virginia.
Bettina Ring, the Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, introduced Governor Northam, adding, “I truly believe it’s a magical moment in time, and you have to seize this moment.”
Barry DuVal, President & CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, noted that today’s announcement makes a lot of sense because “We’re the most connected state in the world.” Virginia is just doing what Virginia does best.
Governor Northam added that in a time of international trade disputes, Virginia has already been taking trade decisions into its own hands by getting involved directly in the global political economy. Key Virginia commerce representatives, he notes, travel around the world, creating relationships between the Commonwealth of Virginia and foreign leaders. He believes these face-to-face summits are essential. “In the digital age, personal touch matters.”
The 71st Virginia Conference on World Trade is a two-day event at the Norfolk Marriott on November 11 and 12. The conference features panel discussions and networking sessions aimed to help to ensure the Virginia businesses have the necessary tools to navigate a rapidly changing global market. International commerce featured heavily this year, with one panel addressing the signed, but not yet ratified, United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
In addition to the USMCA, other topics at this week’s conference include ensuring that infrastructure and economic development drive growth and streamlining global trade with reliable international supply chains.
This year’s conference is co-hosted by the Virginia Chamber Foundation, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Manufacturers Association, and the Virginia Maritime Association. The Port of Virginia is the Presenting Sponsor. Participating Hosts include the Hampton Roads Chamber, the Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Hispanic Chamber, Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, Virginia Agribusiness Council, Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce, and the Virginia Small Business Development Center.
The Hampton Road Chamber acts as an inspiring ignitor, impactful advocate, powerful economic partner, and regional collaborator. We mean business and are excited to bring opportunities like this to our members.