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Agriculture commissioner Gipson announces plans for trade and commerce office on Coast

Updated: Sep. 18, 2019 at 4:22 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - New plans have been announced that promises to grow the economy of the Gulf Coast and the state.

The announcement came from the current Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson.

He plans to open the Coast’s first International Trade and Commerce office to focus on imports and exports.

That could open a lot of opportunities.

“We’ve never had an office on the Gulf Coast, but this is a way we can support what my duties are as commissioner to expand export opportunities for us around the world,” Gipson said. Gipson made the announcement at the Harrison County GOP Club meeting.

The idea is so new, he's just now looking for office space.

“We want to find the best location to serve all three of our ports and everybody across the Coast here,” he said.

Gipson said the office would host delegations and provide outreach to business looking for import and export opportunities.

He told the audience he supports President Donald Trump’s stance on trade with China and that the situation would not hinder his task at hand.

“Why do we want to try to appease an atheist, communist Chinese government when we’ve got friends like Taiwan who love America and want to do business with us?” Gipson said. “Yes, we’ll wrap this trade war up and we’ll come out on top, but in the meanwhile, we’re exploring these opportunities for our economy.”

He said there are plenty of opportunities.

“One of the things that got me to thinking about this is we have the world’s largest wood pellet manufacturer actually locating and building export facilities at the Port of Pascagoula," Gipson said.

That’s just one of many assets of South Mississippi.

“We have so much in terms of agriculture commodities, timber,” Gipson said. “Opportunities not only to export but also to import here.”

Gipson said that agriculture is the largest part of the state’s economy.

“We produce way more than we can ever consume,” he said. “We’ve got to send it somewhere, and in this global economy, we’ve got to make this a priority.”

Gipson plans to open the office within the next year.

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