Louisiana Trade Leaders: Remember the State’s Role in International Trade | Letters


The World Trade Center is proud to open Louisiana International Trade Week, which runs November 5-8. This year we are celebrating two 75 year milestones in international trade.

First, in 1944, with the end of World War II in sight, 730 delegates representing 44 countries gathered in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to forge an international consensus on trade, currency and exchange rules. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was the key outcome of trade, with fundamental principles of economic non-discrimination guiding decades of unprecedented global growth, ultimately leading to the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1994. While the last 75 years of international trade have not been perfect, the GATT / WTO system has provided security and predictability to world economies once dominated by agricultural and industrial trade, and which are now evolving into economies of scale. services full of digital promise.

After the World Congress, Acadian leaders realized that it was not just a question of preserving French in Louisiana. It’s also about connecting to the global economy

Our second 75-year milestone began right here in Crescent City. As John Maynard Keynes of Great Britain and Harry Dexter White of America forged new international economic policies in New Hampshire, local leaders William Zetzmann, Sr., Rudolph Hecht and EO “Archie” Jewell established the International House, and later the International Trade Mart, as institutional vehicles to capture and consolidate international trade after WWII in Louisiana.

The leaders of these formative institutions included Alton Ochsner, MD, John P. Laborde, Basil Rusovich, James J. Coleman, Sr., C. Alvin Bertel, Jr., Hale Boggs and many other visionaries. The success of these institutions led to their merger and the creation of the World Trade Center. New Orleans hosted the first regular conference of the World Trade Centers Association in 1968. The World Trade Center was admirably managed by the Honorable Thomas B. Coleman, Frank B. Stewart, Jr., Ambassador Donald Ensenat, John L. Ochsner, MD, The Honorable Patricia Denechaud, The Honorable Donna Fraiche and many other luminaries dedicated to the promotion of international trade, diplomacy and peace throughout Louisiana.

As we commemorate 75 years of global and local commerce, our World Trade Center honors Louisiana’s continued role in supporting international economic growth. With you, our valued customers and business partners, we celebrate Louisiana’s multi-billion dollar LNG development projects, record freight volumes and expansion of port operations, advanced manufacturing productivity in the United States and agricultural growth at the forefront of exports. The Louisiana World Trade Center is driven by a passion and dedication to commerce. Today’s economic climate faces significant systemic challenges that deserve the same passion and dedication as in Bretton Woods and New Orleans 75 years ago.

On behalf of the World Trade Center board of directors and management, we pledge to continue our efforts to ensure that Louisiana retains and develops its rightful position at the forefront of the new economy of international trade.

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Edward T. Hayes

Chairman Emeritus, Board of Directors

Thomas P. Spiers

president, board of directors

J. Edwin Webb

chief Executive Officer

New Orleans


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