Louisiana Congressmen Join Chinese Officials to Promote Free Trade

Boustany and Cao highlight opportunities for state and call for aggressive action to resolve trade agreements

NEW ORLEANS – On Wednesday representatives Charles Boustany (R – La.) and Joseph Cao (R – La.) met with members of the Chinese embassy to promote what they believe to be the mutually beneficial opportunities of open trade. Approximately sixty individuals, including community and commercial leaders, shared in the half-day seminar, “China Business 2010: Expanding Opportunities for Louisiana Companies,” at the Port of New Orleans.

Lecturers and panel discussion participants highlighted the growing importance of the trade relationship between Louisiana and China – which has risen more than 400 percent since the year 2000. Even during the latest recession, Louisiana’s exports to China have increased by 56 percent. And that trend has run counter to Louisiana’s exports to the rest of the world, which have declined by 29 percent. The growth in trade to China is driven primarily by the agricultural sector.

Organizers also wanted to show international trade relationships in a positive light, as a provider of approximately 500,000 jobs to the state, rather than anything sinister. To emphasize the importance of international entrepreneurship, an award was presented to Intralox president Edel Blanks. Intralox, headquartered in Harahan, employs more than 1,000 individuals and has offices in seven countries, including one in Shanghai, China.

Much of the event’s discussion centered on how to achieve freer trade. One audience member, for example, encouraged Boustany and Cao to continue what he described as a “process of education,” against what he saw as self-destructive nativism.

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Fergus Hodgson is the Capitol Bureau Reporter with the Pelican Institute for Public Policy. He can be contacted at [email protected], and one can follow him on twitter.



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