The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) today announced the appointment of its new Committee on International Trade.

In the 2017 session the Virginia General Assembly mandated the establishment of an advisory committee to include one ex-officio, voting member; a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Virginia Port Authority, and two citizen members appointed by the Governor; and five appointed by the General Assembly Joint Rules Committee. Each citizen appointee possesses experience or expertise in international trade or trade promotion. The Committee on International Trade will advise the VEDP Board of Directors on all matters relating to international trade and trade promotion, and make recommendations as it deems necessary.

The Ex-officio member is Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Basil Gooden.

Governor McAuliffe appointed Stuart S. Malawer, JD, PhD of Great Falls, Distinguished Service Professor of Law & International Trade, George Mason University (Schar School of Policy and Government); John N. Pullen of Richmond, Chief Growth Officer, Luck Companies, and Vice Chairman, Board of Commissioners of the Virginia Port Authority; and James Xu of Richmond, CEO, AVAIL Vapor LLC, and Executive Vice President, Evergreen Enterprises and Plow and Hearth.

The General Assembly appointed Hampton Dowling of Potomac Falls, Managing Partner, The HCB Group LLC; Bob Feeser of Richmond, President, Consumer Packaging, WestRock; George Judd of Fredericksburg, Principal, Cask Services LLC; H. Michael “Mike” Ligon of Richmond, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Universal Corporation; and Arthur “Art” W. Moye, Jr. of Norfolk, Executive Vice President, Virginia Maritime Association.

Elected at last Thursday’s Committee on International Trade meeting, Hampton Dowling will serve as Chairman.

“I congratulate the new Committee on International Trade, and am confident that the combination of the members’ impressive international expertise and business experience will further enhance Virginia’s award-winning international trade programs,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “Helping the commonwealth’s existing businesses enter and succeed in the global marketplace is a strategy that promotes economic vitality, and the establishment of this advisory committee demonstrates Virginia’s commitment to international trade. As we continue to build the new Virginia economy, increasing the commonwealth’s exports is an important part of our efforts to diversify and grow industries of the 21st century.”

VEDP Board Chairman Vince Mastracco added, “All of us on the VEDP Board welcome the inaugural appointees to the Committee on International Trade. Our forthcoming strategic plan will emphasize that expanding VEDP’s well-regarded trade promotion programs is one of the best things that Virginia can do to stimulate healthy growth across the Commonwealth. Given the importance of international trade to Virginia’s economic development, we are especially looking forward to what we will learn from the members of the Committee about how trade activity can be expanded in Virginia.”

“Today’s national emphasis on economic growth is largely dependent on increased international commerce,” said Dowling. “This bodes well for our Commonwealth, where international trade –  both exports and imports – are fundamental to expanded manufacturing, increasing services, and rising employment. Public sector actions must be innovative, forward-leaning, and aggressive to further enable the competitiveness of our private sector. I applaud the General Assembly’s formation of this new Committee, comprised of business leaders from across Virginia, with autonomous focus on advising matters of international trade to our elected and appointed leadership. I look forward to working with my colleagues and doing what’s in the best interest of Virginia’s economic success.”     

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995 to encourage, stimulate, and support the development and expansion of the economy of the Commonwealth. To accomplish its objectives of promoting economic expansion within the Commonwealth, the Partnership focuses its efforts on business recruitment, expansion and international trade.