Atlanta’s U.S. Export Assistance Center opened Sept. 28 with city, state and federal officials joining in a chorus that small business “must go global.”

Senior officials from the U.S. Commerce Department, Small Business Administration, and the Export-Import Bank attended ceremonies along with state and city officials including Gov. Zell Miller and Mayor Bill Campbell held at the Marriott Marquis Two Tower, 285 Peachtree Center Avenue, where the new offices are located.

The center consolidates the export promotion and trade finance services of federal and state agencies and will serve as a “hub” office for Birmingham and Mobile, Ala.; Savannah, Ga.; Somerset, Ky.; Charleston and Greenville, S.C.; and Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville, Tenn.

Although the future of the center may be jeopardized by a cost-cutting U.S. Congress and the existence of the U.S. Commerce Department itself is under attack, the mood of the ceremony was upbeat with exports as a successful job creator a dominant theme.

“I wish we had something like this when I worked for the state of Arkansas,” said Ex-Im Bank Director Maria Luisa Haley, who served as an international business development official for then-Gov. Bill Clinton.  Ms. Haley recalled dealing with federal agencies that she said duplicated services and wasted resources in turf battles.

ERB Industries, Inc., a manufacturer of personal safety equipment in Woodstock; Schaefer Systems International, Inc., a manufacturer of industrial containers in Marietta; Judith Sans – Beauty Systems, an Atlanta manufacturer of skin care and cosmetic products and Micrometrics Instrument Corp., a manufactuer of laboratory analysis instruments, were cited as local “success stories” that had benefited from government programs developing their international sales.

Chick-fil-A Inc., which earlier in the week announced a licensing agreement with the South African company DanCor Group, sponsored the reception.  The agreement was Chick-fil-A’s first outside of North America.

The center may be reached by calling (404) 657-1900; fax, (404) 657-1970.