June 15, 2000

Lila White
(804) 692-3110

Meg Clifford
Meridian International Center
(202) 939-5895
Jill Lawrence
(804) 371-0049
Virginia IT Companies to Meet with Chilean Business Leaders
--Governor Gilmore applauds meetings that are result of his 1999 trade mission to South America- -

Richmond - Governor Jim Gilmore today announced that a group of Chilean business leaders will visit Northern Virginia to explore business opportunities with many of the Commonwealth's technology companies. Funded by the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), the inward trade mission will take place June 19-20 with a major emphasis on e-commerce and international information technology.

USTDA will work with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) to arrange a series of matchmaking appointments with Northern Virginia companies. Public business briefings will take place at Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology to develop long-term relationships with Chilean companies and promote Virginia exports.

"Our strong commitment to international trade is a key factor in continuing to grow our economy within the Commonwealth," said Governor Gilmore. "I am pleased that my 1999 mission to South America is bearing fruit and that this inward mission will lead to greater economic strength for Virginia."

According to the USTDA, Latin America's online population will increase over 400 percent within the next few years. Recent political and economic reforms throughout Latin America, as well as improvements in telecommunications infrastructure and deregulation, have created enormous opportunities throughout the region.

USTDA is a federal government agency that supports feasibility studies and select inward missions from foreign countries in order to promote U.S. exports. USTDA is located in Rosslyn, Virginia and employs approximately 50 people. Funding feasibility studies by U.S. firms often lead to project specifications that favor U.S. suppliers and contractors.

In 1999, Virginia's exports to Chile totaled $48.9 million.

"This inward mission will create opportunities for Virginia firms to discuss information technology, e-commerce services and application possibilities with important business and government representatives from Chile," said Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Barry E. DuVal. "VEDP and USTDA are committed to helping our state's existing businesses by working to promote Virginia exports."


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