In bipartisan fashion, State Reps. Jeff Berger, D-Waterbury, Mike Alberts, R-Woodstock and Pam Sawyer, R-Bolton, have gained approval of legislation to assist Connecticut companies in developing trade with emerging nations in Africa.
Berger is chairman of the legislature’s Commerce Committee, Alberts the ranking Republican on the Commerce Committee and Sawyer a sponsor of the legislation. Together, they obtained unanimous support for the measure in the state House and Senate.
The legislation, SB 880, directs the state Department of Community Development to examine programs that promote and assist Connecticut businesses with international trade with African countries with whom the United States has diplomatic relations. In each of the three years of the study, the commissioner will focus on four different countries in Africa, or 12 countries altogether.
Each report shall include statistics on the progress of the department and a description of the implementation of such programs.
Rep. Berger said, “It is an important step forward for business and in particular manufacturing. In a global economy, Connecticut must continue to expand its footprint for business development and expansion to those countries that can provide for the largest growth potential. International trade, and in particular trade with the African Continent, will enable Connecticut businesses to achieve that ever expanding goal.”
Rep. Alberts said, “It is especially critical that we continue to invest in the state’s economic future. This study should provide the state and its business leaders with a roadmap for potential future economic opportunities with a largely untapped continent.”
Sawyer, who agreed with the two leaders of the committee, said, “Helping Connecticut businesses find new markets for their products and services is the state economic development agency’s goal first and foremost. Opening doors for our companies in emerging countries in Africa for export and import successes is a direction that our companies desperately need.”