For the first time, the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Norfolk Sister Cities Association to bring Amy Liu, a senior fellow and co-director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, and Brookings Institution to Norfolk. On November 6, Going Global offered businesses the opportunity to network, learn and get up-to-date information and current trends in building international relationships on U.S. defense spending from content experts as it impacts the national, state and local economy. Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Maurice Jones was in attendance and provided remarks. The event was held at The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Center of Hampton Roads in Norfolk.
David Lannetti, President of the Norfolk Sister Cities Association welcomed the guests. Several international delegates, local business leaders and four mayors from Norfolk’s sister cities around the world; Mayor Savage from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Mayor He from Ningbo, China, Mayor Moreno from Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, and Mayor Odamitten from Tema, Ghana were in attendance.
Secretary Jones set the tone for the afternoon by sharing statistics about global export and trade. He stated, “In 2013, Virginia had exports that brought into the state, revenues to the tune of 34 billion dollars, 15.2 billion from Virginia companies selling manufacturing goods abroad, 16 billion from services being sold abroad and about 3 billion from agricultural products being sold.” These numbers highlight the importance of global trade for the economic growth of the Hampton Roads Region. In closing, Jones humorously added, “As my grandmother would say, 80% of the world’s population lives outside of the United States, so this notion of international trade is just plain common sense.”
The Keynote speaker Amy Liu of the Brookings Institute elaborated on the remarks made by Secretary Jones. Liu hit on subjects such as technological advancement, the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or STEM fields, and the need for a well-rounded infrastructure to ensure the economic competitiveness of the Hampton Roads Region. Liu stated, “Your firms, your strategy, your leaders all must be globally oriented if you are going to expand world revenues and create opportunities for your workers.” Liu drove home the importance of her message by revealing, “Every 1 billion dollar increase in exports supports approximately 5,600 jobs.”
Bryan K. Stephens President and CEO of The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce delivered the closing remarks. “I think it certainly should illuminate a point to all of us from Hampton Roads that we have to take action,” said Stephens. “It should serve as a rallying cry for us that we need to start looking at ourselves as a region, acting like a region and put together a comprehensive plan so that we can see economic prosperity in Hampton Roads.” Chamber member Rich Gittens of Rich Gittens and Associates was glad he attended and echoed the President stating, “It was insightful, informational and spot on.”
David Lanetti from the Norfolk Sister Cities was thrilled to have partnered with the Chamber for this event. Lanetti said, “It just made sense to be able to combine for a luncheon. We were able to get a speaker who would talk about global commerce with an audience that has both local business leaders as well as visitors from four of our delegations.”
Major Long was very pleased with the event and noted, “After speaking with the mayor from Ghana, I found he is aware of and in tune with some of our work in Ghana.” Long was thrilled to make that connection at this event. He continued, “I know it’s on an economic basis but the Salvation Army’s mission and ministry of help is fueled by economics and it was great that the speaker brought that out. She invited the non-profit sector in this global initiation and I’m excited about that.”