Unveiled at 71st Conference on World Trade Conference
“International trade is a powerful economic engine for our Commonwealth,” Northam said. “Maintaining Virginia’s position as the best state to do business and ensuring that all regions of the Commonwealth can participate in our economic growth requires that we boost our international trade. Virginia has a great deal to offer, including the East Coast’s deepest port, and we are committed to doing more to support and promote growth-minded companies as they successfully expand into global markets. I am proud of the many partners collaborating to meet our aggressive goals in this area, and help position the Commonwealth to be more competitive in a globally connected economy.”
His plan aims to turn Virginia’s international trade fortunes around over the next fifteen years, and incudes the goal of increasing exports by 50% over the next fifteen years – a goal that will not be easy but is achievable, according to Northam.
The plan, he said, is comprised of two distinct efforts that together will create a more competitive and internationally engaged Virginia: 1. Expand the reach and impact of trade development services to existing Virginia businesses; and 2. Enhance Virginia’s focus, capabilities, and resources to support existing trade-intensive business in expanding and to attract new export-intensive companies to Virginia.
Northam’s plan identifies 26 initiatives to support companies with building capabilities to compete internationally, making connections that drive future growth, and lowering risks associated with international transactions. These initiatives have the potential to double the number of firms supported by the Commonwealth in trading internationally, according to Northam.
The conference, hosted by the Virginia Chamber Foundation, the Virginia Maritime Association, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Manufacturers Association, focused around the perspectives on how to better position Virginia for global trade opportunities.
The event, which concluded Wednesday, featured keynote remarks by Northam, Todd Haymore and panel discussions from some of Virginia’s leading industry experts, business community members, and current and former members of the Administration.
“The Conference on World Trade provides a valuable opportunity for Virginia’s business community to come together for meaningful conversations about the importance of commerce and trade to Virginia’s economy,” said Chamber President & CEO Barry DuVal. “We were pleased to have Governor Northam select this conference as the setting to release his international trade plan. The Virginia Chamber stands ready to assist the Administration as it implements this forward-thinking initiative to increase global trade opportunities for our Commonwealth.”
Gov. Ralph Northam discusses Virginia’s first comprehensive international trade plan on Wednesday while in Norfolk at the 71st Conference on World Trade Conference.