With the addition of Deborah Wilkinson, Executive Director of the Tampa/Hillsborough International Protocol and Trade Council, the Chamber, part of the Council is in the process of rolling out a new direction for Tampa’s Protocol and Trade Policy. In Ms. Wilkinson’s new role at the Council, she will lead the international protocol and existing business trade activities for Tampa and Hillsborough County under the direction of the Executive Committee of the Council. The new direction for the International Trade Desk not only includes the traditional functions of protocol, but coordinating educational forums and export readiness workshops for existing businesses as well as being involved in developing policies for countries the Council will explore. This new endeavor will also expand and update the 2004 Trade policy that was approved by the Executive Committee of the Council. “With a new Port Director and an active and engaged Airport President and CEO, now is the time for us to embrace the culture and diversity of our community by expanding upon our international trade opportunities,” said Bob Rohrlack, President and CEO of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. “In addition to working with the Port and Airport, we will continue our efforts in collaboration with the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County, Tampa Bay & Company, the University of South Florida and University of Tampa and work in partnership with the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and Tampa Bay Consular Corps to spotlight Tampa as a key international trade location. This continues and strengthens the international focus in our Chamber as our membership will be involved in identifying those companies throughout the County that need trade assistance.” An important aspect of the Trade Desk’s function is to work with members of the Tampa Bay Consular Corps with their interaction with the Tampa/Hillsborough County community and facilitate positive business interactions. The Dean of the Consular Corps, Mr. Arthur Savage who is also the President of A R Savage & Son has a strong grasp on the need for trade policy and assistance and will work with the Executive Director and the Executive Committee in combining the cultural and business community to promote Tampa Hillsborough as a strong competitor in the global marketplace. Many of the Consuls in the region will reach out to their constituency to bring more business and grow existing business in trade. In addition to working with the Consular Corps and the countries they represent, participating in foreign trade missions with the State of Florida is vital to promoting export and import opportunities with the Tampa/Hillsborough County area. Over the next few months, the Chamber will continue to develop the structure of Tampa’s trade policy. Wilkinson developed and implemented a Global Business Development Strategy while with Broward County and Washington State, as a means of providing structure to international trade efforts and coordination for all organizations involved in trade activity. A similar effort is underway under the auspices of the Executive Committee of the Council.