May is World Trade Month, and with it, several events designed to celebrate the importance of international trade to the U.S. economy and to teach new and experienced exporters about the various aspects of international trade in this changing global economy.
This year's theme is "Growing exports in uncertain times," and I can guarantee you that no one who picked that title had any idea just how uncertain things would be in May 2020.
The History of World Trade Month
World Trade Month was first celebrated as World Trade Week in 1927 by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. According to the Chamber, "This occurred during a time of isolationism and under the conditions prevailing during the heyday of the restrictive Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act."
In 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made World Trade Week a national observance. Since that time, World Trade Week has been celebrated during the entire month of May by a number of federal agencies, state trade offices, area chambers of commerce, World Trade Centers, trade associations, and other public and private organizations. These events celebrate the importance of international trade to the U.S. economy and educate people how to begin and grow their exports.
World Trade Month Events
Because of the dangers of any kind of gathering during a global pandemic, all of the locally organized in-person events scheduled to celebrate World Trade Month have been cancelled, postponed or moved online. Instead, the World Trade Month Association has published more than two dozen online events for which anyone can register on it's World Trade Month Events Calendar.
Many of these events are free. Others are very affordable. While you're at the World Trade Month website, make sure to sign up for the email newsletter to be notified about any additional events that might be added. Plus, we'll be publishing a fun fact about world trade each day in May!
World Trade Month Webinar Highlights
This year's free online webinars include:
- Friday, May 1: COVID-19 Global Trade Webinar Series: Transportation, Customs & Supply Chain Update
- Monday, May 4: Creating International Sales Contracts
- Tuesday, May 5: Chambers of Commerce and Certificates of Origin
- Friday, May 8: Global Business Outlook—Guidance in an Uncertain Global Economy
- Monday, May 11: Proper Filing of an EEI through ACE/AESDirect
- Tuesday, May 12 - Thursday, May 14: Orange County World Trade Week Forum
- Tuesday, May 19: Expanding Your Exports with Trade Finance Tools
- Friday, May 22: An Update on U.S. Trade Remedies—China, the USMCA, and the Ongoing Trade Wars
- Tuesday, May 26: Introduction to Shipping Dangerous Goods
- Friday, May 29: Small Business Export Assistance Programs
Click the links above or visit the World Trade Month website for all the details about these and all the other World Trade Month events.
Adding World Trade Month Events
If your organization is sponsoring an import-export event in May 2020, you can add it to the Events Calendar by completing the registration form on the World Trade Month Association website. All submissions are subject to review and approval by the Association. There is no charge for the listing.
While May 2020 represents one of the most unusual and challenging months in anyone's memory, it does not diminish the importance of international trade to workers, small business owners, large corporations, our country, and the global economy. As we rebound from this crisis, it's important that we position ourselves and our companies to succeed. The World Trade Month events can help us do that.