As international trade recovers from the recent terrorist attacks, Atlanta companies may consider video conferencing as a viable alternative to international travel, said Sam Troy, director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) and task manager for the department’s video conferencing projects.
“The basis of international trade is personal interaction, and these tragedies won’t change that,” Mr. Troy told GlobalFax in an interview, referring to the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. “But, temporarily, companies may not be sending people abroad as much; they are going to conduct business by video.”
USEAC is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service that has posts in some 54 countries, each connected to a global video conferencing network to facilitate trade between U.S.- and foreign-based companies.
Douglasville-based ConferenceOutfitters.com supplies these posts with video equipment.
The terrorist attacks have resulted in a surge in business for ConferenceOutfitters.com and other companies involved in teleconferencing.
“Video conferencing will never replace the handshake, but it has always been a good idea, even before these tragedies,” the company’s president, Werner Richter, told GlobalFax. “It is a cost effective way to get a whole team, company presidents included, involved in an international business transaction.”
The Commerce Department encourages companies to resume their international commerce, Mr. Troy said. Trade, he maintained, is the surest way to promote global peace and understanding, and despite a temporary slowdown in international business travel, companies will think of innovative ways to keep working internationally, he said.
“It is important that Atlanta companies do not lose the structure of international relationships they’ve built with trading partners,” he noted.
USEAC’s headquarters were in the World Trade Center towers, but, to date, all employees are accounted for, Mr. Troy said.
Contact Mr. Troy at (404) 657-1965. Visit www.export.gov for Commerce Department information on exporting. Find up to date U.S. Department of State travel restrictions at www.travel.state.gov. Visit www.conferenceoutfitters.com or call (877) 586-2549.