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St. Louis World Trade Center head going to southeast Asia

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The executive director of World Trade Center St. Louis will take part in the Eisenhower Fellowships, a program aimed at bolstering ties within the international community.

Tim Nowak was one of eight individuals selected for the program, which according to a press release seeks to foster “international understanding and leadership through the exchange of information, ideas, and perspectives among leaders throughout the world.” The selected fellows will travel to one or two countries to meet with experts in business, government, and non-profit institutions.

In an interview at a Clayton luncheon marking the 20th anniversary of World Trade Center St. Louis, Nowak told the Beacon he’ll be headed to southeast Asia for his fellowship.

“In my case, I’m looking to go to Indonesia and Malaysia and build on the many connections that we’ve been working on in Indonesia for the past couple of years,” Nowak said.

Along with representatives from a number of businesses and universities, Nowak was part of a trade mission last year to the Southeast Asian country with former U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Missouri. He said the response to that trip “has been overwhelming,” adding his group two weeks ago hosted a 30 member government and business delegation from Indonesia.

“So my goal in going back to Indonesia is to further develop and cement many of these relationships and introductions we had on that initial trip,” Nowak said. “And all of it to make the connection with companies and universities here to continue to expand into some of the fastest growing markets around the world – which is southeast Asia.”

Nowak said that his group’s “terrific team” will keep the World Trade Center humming along while he’s away.

“The shoulders that I work on and stand on are some of the best and brightest. So the World Trade Center being a part of the STL Economic Development Partnership, we’ve got a great infrastructure and support,” Nowak said. “Of course, there will be many connections I’ll be making. But hey, that’s the global economy in which we live.”

Nowak is one of two St. Louis residents to be picked for the program. The other was Rhonda Broussard, the president and founder of St. Louis Language Immersion Schools.

Nixon announces 'Export Missouri'

Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Nixon used his speech at the luncheon at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Clayton to announce a plan aimed at expanding the state’s international trade opportunities.

The governor announced a program known as Export Missouri, an initiative that will open additional foreign offices for the state in Toronto, Hong Kong and Singapore. That, Nixon said, will increase the state’s “international footprint” to 11 countries spanning five continents.

Nixon also said there will be “trade specialists” hired in the International Trade and Investment office of the Missouri Department of Economic Development to provide “targeted, customized services to Missouri companies to identify key markets and buyers for their products.”

“And we’re rolling out our Global Market Access program, which provides assistance directly to small businesses to offset their costs to participate in international trade shows, trade missions and foreign sales trips,” Nixon said. “We’re going to literally go hand-in-hand with them around the world.”

Additionally, Nixon said Export Missouri would expand the state’s online presence for Show Me State exporters. That expansion will include an online trade counselor to give businesses advice and web-based service for Missouri businesses to showcase their products.

“From soybeans to steel wheels, F-150s to pharmaceuticals, I’ve had the opportunity to see first hand the global demand for our quality Missouri-made products,” Nixon said during his speech. “My new initiative… is going to get more of these products out of the warehouse and around the world.”

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.