The state of Georgia is “keeping a close eye on negotiations to create a hemispheric Free Trade of the Americas,” Gov. Roy Barnes told the delegates on the Mercosur Ambassadors’ Tour visiting Atlanta last week.

Speaking at a luncheon held at the World Trade Center Atlanta, he added, “We believe the results of these negotiations will mean even more direct air routes connecting Atlanta to Buenos Aires, Santiago and other South American capitals.”

The governor strongly stated his desire to see Georgia become “a new gateway to South America.”

“Help us send a message that we in Georgia are working hard to explore new business opportunities and new cultural connections between our countries,” he added. “And help us send a message that our capital city is the most logical, cost effective, accessible and friendly gateway for companies in South America seeking ready access to the U.S. market.”

U.S. ambassadors to Bolivia, Chile, and Uruguay participated in the visit as did commercial officers from Argentina and Brazil.

For a copy of the speech, call Kathe Falls at (404) 656-6207 or send an E-mail to