The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Domestic Operations has a new deputy assistant secretary, Bruce Blakeman, who is ready to assist Georgia companies, especially in rural areas and in service industries, to export and form partnerships overseas.

          Mr. Blakeman was in Atlanta for a two-day training session of the department’s local Commercial Service affiliates and partner organizations, including the U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC), the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade & Tourism (GDITT) and the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

          He told GlobalFax during an interview at the Embassy Suites at Centennial Park that one of his department’s initiatives is to assist underserviced communities to export, so he is focusing on reaching Georgia exporters who are outside the metro area, especially in rural areas.

Another of the department’s goals, he noted, is to double U.S. exports during President Bush’s first term in office. He said Atlanta is one of the cities the Bush administration is counting on to be a national leader in exports.

          “Atlanta is a one-stop-shop for doing business overseas,” Mr. Blakeman said. “Small businesses especially have an advantage here because the various state and federal agencies work very closely; everyone knows everyone, right up to our office in Washington, and those personal working relationships make all the difference for assisting companies to export.”

          While the service sector comprises 80% of the U.S. economy, services account for only 20% of the country’s exports, Mr. Blakeman noted. He said he is available to assist Georgia companies to effectively export their services as well as material products.

          Contact Mr. Blakeman at (202) 482-4767. Contact Sam Troy, director of USEAC, at (404) 657-1965.