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WTC Charleston to Be Re-Established by Chamber

Trade & Development - Economic Development

CHARLESTON, SC – Under the World Trade Centers Association umbrella, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce has re-established World Trade Center (WTC) Charleston, at the Chamber’s new location, 4500 Leeds Avenue in North Charleston. In 1989 the Chamber purchased a license from the World Trade Centers Association in New York to form World Trade Center–Charleston. In 2001 a group of volunteers that wanted to go statewide used this license and created the South Carolina World Trade Center, a South Carolina non-profit corporation, separate and distinct from the Chamber. In December 2009 the Chamber was notified that the SCWTC board had voted to dissolve its organization. The Chamber then decided to re-establish the license as World Trade Center Charleston and is pleased to maintain the World Trade Center designation for the Charleston region. 

The Chamber has had a long history of international trade activities since its inception in 1773. Over the past few years some of the Chamber’s international trade support services have included: import/export workshops, cultural/trade missions to China and Greece, hosting international dignitaries, advocating foreign trade agreements and many similar activities.  

“As part of the global network of WTCs, whose mission is to bring together business and government agencies involved in international trade, continuing these international activities and the re-establishment of WTC Charleston is important to the future growth of the Port of Charleston and economic development in the region." said David Maybank III, chairman of the board, Charleston Metro Chamber. "We look forward to working with the community to create a vital World Trade Center for the Charleston region.” 

The Chamber is developing a plan for programs and services to enhance its current offerings to, and engagement of, the Charleston region’s international business community. The Chamber has established a special committee of the Chamber board, which, over the next few months, will determine the goals for this initiative. The intent is to coincide with the start of the Chamber’s new fiscal year which begins July 2010.

Charles Van Rysselberge, president and CEO, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce said, “We anticipate growing World Trade Center Charleston at the Chamber through a series of stages. The key Chamber staff member who will guide the development of WTC Charleston is Pennie Bingham, senior vice president, who has had significant success in growing the Chamber's Innovation and Business Development programs.”  

Van Rysselberge has dual citizenship (U.S.A. and Belgium) and has served for the past 12 years as foreign trade advisor on behalf of the country of Belgium for the state of Oklahoma and South Carolina.

"I commend the Charleston Metro Chamber for its entrepreneurial vision for the World Trade Center Charleston. The Port of Charleston is an engine for international trade and economic growth for the entire Southeast, and I am confident the Chamber's work will help expand exports, strengthen our economy, create jobs, and continue to showcase the best South Carolina has to offer to the rest of world," said Senator Jim DeMint.

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