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Three Initiatives of the World Trade Center Arkansas AND WHAT IT CAN MEAN FOR YOU

I. The Arkansas Exporter Directory

A list of Arkansas companies who are exporting or have export-ready products. It is organized by industry and lists the product, the company and contact information.

The Arkansas Exporter Directory is a simple answer to a simple need.

But often times, the simplest things are the most difficult.

We had multiple requests to compile a list of exporting companies.

This enables inbound delegations of diplomats, trade officials and business executives to choose companies they want to meet with.

We can now offer a catalogue of businesses to arrange B2B meetings.

Our challenge was to collect the information and compile it into a single list - which has not been done before.

Other lists exist - but none are comprehensive and some are proprietary.

So we utilized our relationship with the Arkansas Secretary of State, with whom we have worked with on many occasions.

The Arkansas Secretary of State is the office through which every company must register to incorporate in the state of Arkansas -

from Walmart to mom and pop diners.

This means the office has a list of every company in Arkansas and their contact information.

So the World Trade Center Arkansas Strategic Communications desk designed the directory and worked with the Secretary of State's office.

We created an email which was sent to every company in Arkansas. The email communicated five things:

I. We were seeking exporters or export-ready companies

II. That this was a free service

III. The purpose - to facilitate B2B meetings

IV. The benefits - companies and foreign officials will utilize the directory to do business

V. That it took 2 minutes to provide the information

The companies were then given an option to view a preview of the directory.

We then gave them a link to a form we created using Survey Monkey.

Alone we had 300 responses but after sending this email we've had other state agencies join us in gathering this information.

We now expect a lot more.

We can now offer an invaluable service to the state of Arkansas:

We can give inbound trade delegations a list of Arkansas companies of their choice and arrange B2B meetings.

We also now have a way to measure our trade center's impact on export growth for our state.

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II. Our Public Testimony at the NAFTA Hearings

On May 23rd, 2017 the USTR issued a federal register seeking the views of American companies on NAFTA renegotiations.

The USTR began the formal renegotiation on August 16, 2017 and the latest talks concluded on Sunday, October 15.

Arkansas has a unique position within NAFTA:

Our exports to Mexico have grown over 700% and we have a positive trade balance with both Canada and Mexico.

We have strong agriculture trade with Canada and our Mexico exports have grown by 700%

From May 15 -18, 2017 the World Trade Center Arkansas and the Arkansas Secretary of State went to Washington D.C.

We met with the Ambassador of Mexico, the Embassy of Canada, the USTR and the ITA to emphasize our unique position and that we are in favor of NAFTA modernization.

The Arkansas delegation stands with Ambassador of Mexico Geronimo Gutierrez. From left to right: Melvin Torres, Secretary of State Mark Martin, Ambassador Gutierrez, World Trade Center Arkansas President and CEO Dan Hendrix and Angela Marshall-Hofmann.

We were then asked to gather information on Arkansas companies and their needs within the context of NAFTA.

We utilized the same approach with the Secretary of State - an email and a survey.

We had a strong response and were invited back to testify at the public hearings on June 27, 2017.

Melvin Torres, our Director of Western Hemisphere Trade represented the needs of 150 Arkansas companies to the USTR.

The result has meant a lot for our Center.

Arkansas' needs will be reflected in the new agreement

The World Trade Center Arkansas is now seen as an authority on NAFTA in middle America

Local media even seek our expertise on explaining the agreement.

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III. Our 10 Year Anniversary: Down to Business

We were pleased to celebrate 10 years of serving Arkansas and growing trade for the state on September 21, 2017.

Senator John Boozman speaks to diplomats, foreign trade officials and Arkansas leaders and World Trade Center Supporters.

We had multiple diplomats present including the Ambassador of Costa Rica and the Ambassador of Kenya.

Our founder Senator John Boozman spoke to Arkansas leaders.

But this day was not merely a celebration.

We took the opportunity to bring these leaders together with Arkansas businesses and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC).

We are the international trade development arm of the AEDC and we work closely with them to serve the entire state of Arkansas.

Senator John Boozman speaks with Mark Hamer and Ben Walters of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

Of all the meetings we facilitated we are eager to share one new initiative:

Bringing the smart farming technology of a company in Arkansas to countries in Africa.

Even Canada showed great interest - as the tech has strong first world applications.

Travis Florey of Intellifarms speaks to Ambassador Githae of Kenya, Mamadou Kone of Cote d'Ivoire and Delon Chan, consul and trade commissioner of the Canadian Consulate General in Dallas.

Intellifarms is a company whose technology allows a farmer to maximize crop yield and reduce post-harvest waste through a multiphase strategy.

Phase One allows a farmer to pick the best variety of seed for his region and climate to maximize yield.

Phase Two allows the farmer to utilize a soil probe network monitor environmental conditions in real time like weather and soil moisture to make strategic decisions for things like watering and fertilizer.

Phase Three allows a farmer to regulate heat and moisture in his storage bins to extend storage life for more than 3 years without a decrease in quality.

Phases Four and Five have applications for first world countries.

They connect farmers and buyers through a network extending up to 500 miles.

It allows a farmer to input logistical data and the system runs a calculation.

The farmer is then given a list of the top buyers offering the highest price for his crops within 500 miles.

He can also identify selling opportunities for specialty markets.

Intellifarms gives to the farmer the power to maximize yield, reduce loss and even influence supply and demand - making farming profitable eliminating the need for subsidies.

This technology will be key to solving the world's food shortage issues in places like Africa and we are proud to be a part of it.

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The purpose of any World Trade Center is to be a resource for growing trade and building relationships.

If you look at our most successful initiatives, two common principles of approach emerge:

I. We grow relationships and leverage them for specific outcomes

Our relationship with the Secretary of State meant we could reach out for help with a specific task:

Contact every Arkansas company.

We could represent them in the NAFTA hearings.

We can now arrange meetings for them with interested foreign buyers.

Our relationship with Senator Boozman meant we could utilize his office to invite Ambassadors.

We took advantage of their visits and put them in front of companies, like Intellifarms who can solve some of the worlds biggest problems.

II. We ask how we can serve these partners. Listen. And then find ways to do it.

The USTR wanted us to collect comments from Arkansas companies. So we did it.

The government of Argentina wanted us to create a directory of exporters.

Whenever someone asks us to do something, we find a way to do it.

And once we do, the relationship grows and friendships are forged.

Then that relationship can become our next resource to serve our newest relationship.

Which grows that relationship and slowly our ability to grow trade for Arkansas becomes stronger and stronger.

Created By
Sam Cushman
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