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Shepherd to hold global commerce roundtable

June 01, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shepherd College administrators, local agricultural experts and business leaders are expected to participate in a roundtable discussion Saturday to explore ways of increasing West Virginia's role in global commerce.

With the advent of the Internet, there are many ways for the state to take advantage of markets abroad, said Norie Huddle, a spokeswoman for the meeting.

Agriculture is a particular market in which the state could excel, Huddle said. West Virginia farmers could sell soybeans to such countries as Japan, which has very little land on which to produce crops, Huddle said.

Huddle said farmers can make three to four times more profit on such products as soybeans by selling them to countries where land is in short supply.

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Local government officials have stressed the importance of the state, and especially the Eastern Panhandle, taking advantage of international commerce.

"I think a lot of people are talking about it. It's just moving it forward," Huddle said.

The roundtable discussion is being sponsored by the Institute for Training, Trade, and Development, a Shepherd College organization that was initially set up to help Russia set up its first national tax system.

It is also being sponsored by the National Learning Foundation of Falling Waters, W.Va., a group that was set up to explore ways to better prepare public school students for the workforce.

Part of the roundtable discussion, to be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Shepherd College student center, will focus on helping state entrepreneurs understand cultures of other countries, organizers said. That is key in fostering effective communications between businesses in different countries, organizers said.

The roundtable discussion is the beginning of an effort that will culminate with the adoption of state initiatives that will be unveiled during a conference in the Eastern Panhandle in 2001, organizers said.

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