Former U.S. ambassador to Canada, Gordon Giffin, told the Atlanta Rotary Club last week that Georgia’s success in international markets depends on its “engaged and interested citizenry” to help reverse the U.S. tradition of political and economic isolation.

Mr. Giffin discussed Atlanta’s potential as a hemispheric commercial center, as well as the United States’ trade relations with Canada and European countries during the Rotary Club’s International Day luncheon on April 7.

“We need to reconcile with our largest trading partners,” he told GlobalFax in response to a question about U.S. consumers’ rejection of Canadian, French and German products because of those countries’ political positions vis-a-vis the Iraq war.

Georgia citizens’ involvement in international affairs is crucial, he added, to raise Atlanta’s profile as a “crossroads of the hemisphere,” Mr. Giffin said.

This is especially true if Atlanta aims to attract the secretariat of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, he said.

Contact Mr. Giffin at (404) 527-4000. Visit www.globalatlanta.com for full text.