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Another Voice: Celebrating our region's prominence in international trade

By Craig W. Turner

Just about 300 communities around the world have a World Trade Center, and we’re one of them. Ours is unique among our counterparts, in fact, as World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara is one of the few binational licenses issued by the World Trade Centers Association worldwide. Our covered territory extends all the way from Hamilton to Syracuse. In 2018, we’re celebrating our 30th year serving our regional international trade community.

But what does that designation offer to Western New York and Southern Ontario? Having a licensed World Trade Center in our region connects our community, and our companies, with an international ecosystem of global opportunities and integrated trade services under the umbrella of a globally recognized brand. It also puts our region on the map as a place where international business thrives – an important component of attracting new business to our area.

For companies in our region, the benefit of us having the WTC license is a practical one. In large part due to the skyscrapers that once stood in lower Manhattan, World Trade Center is a brand that is known throughout the global marketplace. Being affiliated with a World Trade Center offers validity, credibility and connections when doing business abroad. It certainly makes the world a smaller place to do business.

Each year, WTCBN’s members, partners and stakeholders in the trade community gather to celebrate our region’s place in the international marketplace – and we have a significant one: companies in upstate New York and Southern Ontario do business in all parts of the world, and are exceptional at it. The gathering is called World Trade Celebration, and this year’s event is Sept. 20 at the beautiful new Events at the Wurlitzer facility in North Tonawanda.

Our keynote speaker for World Trade Celebration is Pat Whalen, who many may know from his work on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus with the Thomas R. Beecher Innovation Center, his leadership in international trade in our region over the past 30 years, or his current role with the Niagara Global Tourism Institute.

Pat will be speaking on “Tariffs, Trade Agreements, and Tourism in the Trump Era,” a topic that companies are monitoring closely and, the way things are going, one that will likely have him rewriting his speech right up to event time.

The event will be a forum for leadership, community and expertise in a trade environment that has been less-than-predictable as of late. But it’s also an excellent reminder that Buffalo Niagara is a significant player on a global scale, that our trade community is vibrant and expert, and that we have a name  brand organization here helping companies present our binational region to the world.

Craig W. Turner is president of World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara.

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