June 7, 2017
(Norman, Oklahoma) – The third conference on international inter-tribal trade at the University of Oklahoma College of Law has come to a successful completion. The host nations for the event were three of Oklahoma’s leading tribes: the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, the Choctaw Nation and the Chickasaw Nation. Day one of the three-day Conference was the first official International Tribal Trade Mission hosted by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and the Choctaw Nation. Participants had the opportunity visit these thriving Indigenous business centres and talk with the business leaders from these nations.
Tribal political and business leaders as well as academic law experts from both Canada and the United States were in attendance, along with interested NGOs such as the Council for the Advancement of Native Economic Development Officers (Cando) and the Canadian National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development.
In his opening address, the Chair of the International Inter-tribal Trade and Investment Organization (IITIO), Mr. Wayne Garnons-Williams, expressed the purpose and scope of the conference:
“to apply the group’s combined international expertise, passion and experience in addressing tangible issues that can assist in the global flow and exchange of Indigenous goods, services and investments…
…to facilitate productive discussion, objective research, and effective education with respect to international inter-tribal trade and investment, through seminars, conferences and scholarly papers…
…and to recommend measures, activities and policy/regulatory/legislative proposals (initiatives) that can further the vision of the organization while respecting its principles.”
During the Conference, leading experts in the fields of international trade, economics, and governance, standing side-by-side with authorities from business and tribal economic development, identified issues, gaps challenges, and opportunities in key areas such as the Jay Treaty, NAFTA, Canada/USA border crossing for Indigenous trade, and Indigenous International trade.
The conference organizers plan and hold bi-annual IITIO conferences. IITIO’s next step will be to publish conference proceedings, allowing interested parties access to the expert research presented at this conference. The next Tribal Trade mission and Conference of IITIO will further these ideas, proposals and solutions. The upcoming conference will be hosted by the Secwepemc Peoples and the Faculty of Law, Thompson Rivers University, British Columbia, in October 2017.
Future conferences will expand in scope toward the global. IITIO’s Indigenous Trade conference will include Indigenous business leaders from New Zealand, Australia, and Central and South America.
Tribal trade missions can open doors, providing on-the-ground support, business-to business contacts, and high-level information and tools for exporters. Tribal trade missions are especially useful for small and medium-sized enterprises. The presence of senior government representatives and of resources from Canada’s export agencies can lead to opportunities and benefits to participants, including:
- access to key economic and government decision-makers
- on-the-ground support from government network and export agencies
- unparalleled networking opportunities with the local business community
- business-to-business meetings with potential partners
- foreign market intelligence and troubleshooting
- opportunities to initiate, develop and conclude export partnerships
The inter-tribal trade missions take place every six months, rotating back and forth between Canada and the United States, where participants will spend an average of 2 to 3 days developing mutually advantageous business opportunities through:
- business briefings
- market and sector presentations/discussions
- effective networking events
- business-to-business meetings
- business/product site visits
- meetings with senior officials
Read more about International Inter-tribal Trade and Investment Opportunities at the blog on www.iitio.org. Follow us on Twitter at @GarwilW
Wayne D. Garnons-Williams, IITIO Chair firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (613) 614-6277
Bradford W. Morse, Dean of Law, Thompson Rivers University, email@example.com (250) 852-7267
Lindsay Robertson, Law Professor, University of Oklahoma, firstname.lastname@example.org (405) 966-6700