It was a packed house today at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott for the 68th Virginia Conference on World Trade. The two-day conference features panel discussions and breakout sessions aimed to equip Virginia businesses with the tools they need to take their goods and services to global markets.
Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber opened the conference by recognizing the excellent work that Bryan Stephens and the Hampton Roads Chamber have done in organizing the business community in the region and their strong advocacy for international trade. He cited a study sponsored by the Virginia Chamber Foundation last fall that found more than 320,000 jobs in Virginia and 30 percent of recent economic growth in Virginia linked to exports.
The topics discussed over the two-day conference include new opportunities in Cuba, how to plan for the Brexit, how to adjust to a world that is becoming increasingly urban, and what resources companies can use at the local, state, and federal level companies should be using to assist them in their international efforts. Sidney Harrison, CEO of ITAC said, “If you’re getting in to exporting, you’ve got to be in for the long haul, because it’s a long haul. But don’t be frightened. There’s opportunity there if you stick with it.”
A common theme from all of today’s speakers is the valuable resource we have in the export assistance programs at VEDP International. Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore concluded his lunch keynote by urging companies who aren't yet exporting and have considered it to get off the fence, and use VEDP International to get started. He noted they have completed 2,300 international export research studies in the last five years alone to help Virginia businesses find the right markets for their goods overseas.
(Photo credit: Mary Maier, VEDP)