SWLA & Acadiana go global for economic development

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

JENNINGS, LA.(KPLC) - The Zagis textile plant at Lacassine is an example of what can happen when investors from different regions, even different countries partner and make a profit. And officials from Lake Charles, Lafayette the Calcasieu Police Jury and economic development alliances know there are opportunities out there for those who think globally. LC Mayor Randy Roach "The future, the 21st century, is going to belong to those regions of the country and of the world that recognize the value of international trade.

Rather than compete Southwest Louisiana and Acadiana officials met in Jennings to sign an historic accord and form a coalition aimed at stimulating economic activity by promoting international trade.

SWLA Economic Development Alliance President CEO George Swift.  "Lafayette has had a great international trade program for many years. We're going to partner with them. They're going to partner with us and we're going to be able to tell the story of our two regions to prospects from all over the world."

Donald Van de Werken directs the U.S. Export Assistance Center." We got another trade mission coming up, we're going to India. Why? Because they, their 911 was the bombing of Mumbai. And so they had a rude awakening and that was security. And so they had to upgrade, they don't have a coast guard. And so they're going to create one. And so who builds the coast guard cutters? They're built right here in Louisiana."

Among other things officials here hope to see their children and grand children stay here rather than leave. Said Lafayette Mayor President Joey Durel. "If we don't have jobs for the kids they're out of here. Because in the end, they've got to make a living."

The group will work to increase ties with other countries and exports as well as educate the private sector on how to cash in on the opportunities.

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