U.S. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown made a “virtual appearance” in Atlanta, Macon and Savannah June 2 through the use of the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism’s video teleconferencing equipment.

At the invitation of The Atlanta Roundtable, which meets occasionally to discuss international business issues, Mr. Brown defended his department’s policies on trade and foreign investment, and encouraged Americans to take advantage of their “diversity” to compete in the global marketplace.

Atlanta attorney Ken Cutshaw, chairman of the Roundtable, praised Mr. Brown’s active support for U.S. business abroad while Mr. Brown defended his trade missions to China and India as illustrating “a new way of thinking” for the department.  “My job is to stand shoulder to shoulder with American business,” he said, defending his personal involvement in trade missions.

 Carlos Martel, Georgia’s deputy commissioner for trade, thanked Mr. Brown for his support of a Regional Export Assistance Center in Atlanta, which, he said, would take advantage of modern communication technology to stimulate international business.

The Roundtable discussion, which was sponsored by Globalfax,  drew more than 40 participants including state and local officials as well as attorneys, accountants, bankers, manufacturers, exporters, educators and students.

Mr. Brown took a firm stand on the current trade disputes with Japan, saying that in the history of U.S./Japanese relations, the U.S. “has only made progress under sanctions or under the threat of sanctions.”

He also supported the U.S. embargo against Iran. “Some countries need to pay a price…for their inability to follow international norms,” he said.

In response to a question by Tom Glaser, executive director of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, he said that other countries should follow the example of Israel in the joint development with the U.S. of commercial products from military technologies.

Mr. Cutshaw may be reached by calling (404) 885-3516; fax,(404) 885-3900.

Anne Oliver, an authority on business etiquette and protocol, and Andrew Fleming, executive director of the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, will be attending the World Trade Center’s VIP informal discussions and lunches on Friday, June 9 and 23, respectively.  Call (404) 880-1550 to reserve a place.  Cost is $20 for each meeting.