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Arkansas trade director serves as keynote speaker

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Melvin Torres, director of Western Hemisphere trade for the World Trade Center Arkansas served as the featured speaker at Arkansas State University’s (ASU) seventh annual “International Exhibition: Regions, Countries, Exports,” hosted by the College of Business on Thursday, October 12, 2017. Torres also served as a featured speaker at the Arkansas District Export Council’s (ARDEC) seminar “Growing Your Company: Exporting to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Cuba on Friday, October 13, 2017.

“Melvin’s keynote address focusing on NAFTA was very well received by both faculty and students at Arkansas State University,” said Sarath Nonis, professor of marketing at ASU. “It is not often one gets the opportunity to learn about NAFTA from the point of view of an Arkansan. It was extremely encouraging to the entire audience to know the vast number of jobs created and the trade surplus the state enjoys because of this free trade agreement.”

Nonis says that Torres’ address was very encouraging given that ASU just opened the first American-style university campus in Queretaro, Mexico which strengthens the relationship between Arkansas and Mexico.

On Friday, Torres then travelled to Little Rock to join the ARDEC seminar at the Little Rock Regional Chamber. Multiple speakers discussed culture, barriers to exporting, success stories and other information that companies might find useful in exporting their products to Mexico, Cuba and the Caribbean.

“Melvin drew upon his vast experience in this market to provide sound advice,” said William Burgess, chair of the Arkansas District Export Council. “Obviously, recent weather events in the Caribbean have created new needs and new opportunities for local exporters. Melvin was able to share both historical data for countries in the region as well as current needs for disaster relief and recovery.”

According to vice chair of ARDEC Lenka Horakova, they received a lot of positive feedback from Arkansas companies about Torres’ presentation.

“It was very timely, considering the recent trade and geopolitical developments in Mexico, the Caribbean and Cuba,” she said.

“These trips allow us to engage the state and fulfil our mission to be a resource for Arkansas companies and to provide students of global commerce an enhanced educational experience,” Torres said.

The mission of the World Trade Center Arkansas is to grow trade and increase Arkansas exports by connecting Arkansas businesses to the world through international trade services. For more information and valuable updates, please follow the Center on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to the World Trade Center Arkansas newsletter.

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