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The Mid-South Tribune


In light of the September 11th terrorist attack on America, consumer confidence and uncertainty about our nation's economy is in a fragile state. As investors flock from the stock market and tighten their belts, many worry about what lies ahead amid our national crisis. International business leader and trade expert Roosevelt Roby points to the resiliency of the American people, the American spirit and the American economy as he calms consumer fears and gives reassurance about the future in his interview.

Published October, 2001

Roosevelt Roby

Q: Foremost on everyone's minds these days is The World Trade Center attack. How is this affecting consumer confidence?

First, like all Americans, my heart and prayers go out to everyone affected by this tragedy. Through the anguish, we are seeing remarkable acts of selfless heroism, of kindness, unity and American pride. I am touched and comforted by that. But this was a tragedy of monumental proportions, of course it will shake consumer confidence. That's only natural. But remember, we've experienced times of war, crisis, natural disasters before and we always come back and grow even stronger, each and every time.

Q: How will this crisis affect international trade?

In the long-run, I believe the fact that the outpouring of support and international cooperation in the face of tragedy will lead to a new era of global unity to reduce trade barriers and build an even stronger global market system. This will not only boost the American economy, it will boost the worldwide economy as well.

Q: What about the immediate affects on world trade?

It will slow for a period due to additional security measures. That's to be expected. But who would not err on the side of caution in order to protect our borders and innocent lives?

Q: Will the global market put the breaks on spending and further affect our economy?

There may be a knee-jerk reaction to the crisis, but despite the slowdown in the overall U.S. Trade deficit, we are still seeing an increase in consumer goods such as foods, feeds, beverages and other such products. We have to remember, there are over 5.5 billion consumers in the world marketplace and no one country can produce all the necessary goods and services to support themselves. We rely on each other and will continue to do so. In hard times, you traditionally see a downturn in capital goods, like industrial supplies, automotive vehicles and other goods, but you see a steady flow of consumer goods that people all over the world still need to sustain their daily lives.

Q: This doesn't spell gloom for our economy?

Absolutely not. Before the joint session of Congress (9/20), President Bush asked for American's continued support of the American economy. He said, 'Terrorists attacked a symbol of American prosperity; they did not touch its source.' Exactly. Our government is providing tax incentive to increase business and consumer spending. They're also considering an even wider range of stimulus proposals for our long-term gain. Congress is actively working to give the President more latitude to negotiate trade agreements. Such actions would send a positive message to the international markets and stimulate economic activity. Even the Federal Reserve Chairman has applauded the move to expand trade to promote economic growth.

Q: You have faith the national and global economy will recover?

No doubt in my mind. We are seeing an aggressive plan in action as we speak. Interest rates are falling, the American spirit is soaring, the world is coming together in an unprecedented way for mutual benefit and unity, trade barriers are coming down and new markets, like China, are opening up. The terrorists did not succeed in sending the world into a panic, they've brought the world together. Like the President, members of the Department of Commerce and the Fed, we are all absolutely confident our national and global economy will recover and prosper. We have to remember not to lose sight of the long-term and not lose hope.

NOTE: Roosevelt Roby is the Founder and CEO of The World Business Exchange Network, a global trade association on the Internet. He has served as a consultant on various international business matters for the United States Department of Commerce, including acting as mentor to former Secretary of Commerce, Mr. Ron Brown, and serves as Chairperson of the Government and International Trade Subcommittee sponsored by the Mayor's office of the City of Los Angeles. Additionally, he was awarded the Chairman's Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence by the National Republican Congressional Committee, where he also served as a Delegate giving guidance on key business and trade issues. He is also a lecturer who encourages involvement in the world business community and educates on financial freedom through starting your own business. For his work promoting international trade and education, Mr. Roby has been hailed by Presidents, members of Congress, Governors, business leaders and international trade professionals around the world.

For information on The World Business Exchange Network, visit their website at or call toll-free at 1- 800-537-7347.



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