For Immediate Release: March 4, 2003
Senate Passes International Trade Center Bill
Legislation that would facilitate the construction of an international trade center has passed the Oklahoma State Senate with unanimous support and now heads to the House. According to Senator Jonathan Nichols, R-Norman, Senate Bill 439 will help small and medium size businesses engage in international trade.
“The International Trade Processing Center is one of the more important economic development projects that the State of Oklahoma has undertaken since the Port of Catoosa,” said Senator Nichols. “This could have great economic impact for communities in the Oklahoma City area as well as the entire State of Oklahoma.
The concept of the International Trade Processing Center (ITPC) is to integrate Oklahoma’s existing business services and trade processing systems/facilities into a “one stop shop” for international business services.
As introduced by Senator Nichols, SB 439 will designate the Oklahoma Department of Commerce as the sponsoring agency for the Continental Gateway Authority (CGA). “The Continental Gateway Authority is comprised of county commissioners who with the help of community leaders have developed the idea of locating an International Trade Center in McClain County,” explained Senator Nichols.
In 1999, the Continental Gateway Authority (CGA) contracted with Booz-Allen & Hamilton of Virginia to conduct a feasibility study to estimate the economic impact the ITPC would have on the Oklahoma City and surrounding communities. The study uncovered overwhelming support for the project within the small to medium sized businesses.
An economic impact analysis recently prepared by the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and released to the committee predicts the Trade Processing Center would employ over two thousand people at peak operation.
The legislation enjoys bipartisan support and is co-authored in the House by Representative Billy Mitchell, D-Lindsey. “The Trade Processing Center will not only be an important economic development tool for the people of Cleveland and McClain Counties, but also for the entire State of Oklahoma,” said Representative Mitchell.
Senator Cal Hobson, D-Lexington, believes that this is the type of legislation that could expand Oklahoma’s tax base through economic development. “An international trade center will provide necessary links between small business and the international community, opening up new markets for Oklahoma businesses,” said Senator Hobson.
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