UPDATED: World Trade Center Opens in Rogers - Innovate Arkansas
UPDATED: World Trade Center Opens in Rogers
By Andrew Jensen, 4/13/2007 12:00:00 AMThe Arkansas World Trade Center opened its doors in January but had to wait until April to host the dignitaries worthy of a true grand opening.
Rep. John Boozman, R-Ark., Deputy Secretary of Commerce David Sampson and ambassadors from Central America and the Dominican Republic joined University of Arkansas Chancellor John A. White on Friday in Rogers to commemorate the occasion with area business leaders.
Costa Rican Ambassador Rene A. Leon credited Boozman for his leadership and help launching the World Trade Center. Leon also thanked Boozman and Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., for their support of CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement.
Leon said CAFTA led to a 30 percent increase in trade between the U.S. and Central America in 2006 and that northwest Arkansas has the political leadership, the companies and the man power to make the World Trade Center a success for both sides of the border.
“A World Trade Center is an institution to promote peace and prosperity through trade,” Leon said.
Boozman said he told White to “think big and move quickly” after the idea of a World Trade Center was proposed last year.
“We’re here to help manufacturers, farming, small business and business in general,” Boozman said. “Arkansas can compete with anyone.”
Sampson said the Commerce Department and the World Trade Center share a concurrent mission to bring life to trade agreements like CAFTA by building relationships between nations and companies.
“We work with World Trade Centers to achieve these goals,” Sampson said.
Sampson there are “winds of isolationism and protectionism” blowing in
Washington, D.C., but growing a vibrant economy means reaching 95 percent of the world¹s consumers outside of the U.S.
“We have to plug into international markets,” Sampson said. “Northwest Arkansas has seen it. There is an environment to innovate and a link to global markets.”
The Trade Center was established in September 2006 with an agreement between the UA and the World Trade Centers Association. The center moved into its offices at 330 Market Street, Suite 400 at Rogers on Jan. 15.
The center, which is affiliated with the Sam Walton College of Business at the UA, will seek to bring help Arkansas businesses gain a bigger share of the global marketplace.
Dan Hendrix is president and chief executive officer of the trade center.
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