Hall is the leading county for exports in the state, according to Tim Evans, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce vice president of economic development, who quoted the Georgia Ports Authority.
As such, local business leaders say the area stands to benefit from Gov. Sonny Perdue’s recent trips to explore trade and tourism opportunities abroad.
Perdue first traveled to Cuba earlier this month and most recently returned from a trip to Argentina and Uruguay.
“Exports are very important to the poultry industry,” said Mike Giles, who is president of the Gainesville-based Georgia Poultry Federation and participated in the Cuba trip. “About 80 percent of the chicken produced in the U.S. is consumed domestically, so the other 20 percent needs to find a home (internationally).”
Perdue and his delegation of representatives from the Georgia Department of Economic Development spent Monday through Wednesday in South America. During that time, the group met with some of Argentina’s and Uruguay’s business, government and economic development leaders.
“(These trips) are important because what they are doing is building relationships,” Giles said. “They’re raising awareness about the products we produce here in Georgia. A part of building export markets is raising awareness about what we have.”
Perdue said he hoped the state could reconnect with trade partners in South America.
“These are relationships we first developed (in 2004) when building Atlanta’s bid to host the Western Hemisphere’s free trade headquarters,” Perdue said. “While that opportunity never materialized, our efforts have continued to shape Georgia’s reputation as a global business leader.”
According to the governor’s office, Georgia is the sixth largest American exporter state to Uruguay and the seventh largest American exporter state to Argentina. And many hope Hall is a part of that.
“There are export markets for Hall County all over the world,” Evans said. “Poultry and other food products that originate in Hall are exported out of the port in Savannah all over the world. Certainly what helps (the state’s trade) helps Hall County.”