WHEREAS: in recent years, Latin America has become the fourth largest and fastest growing market for American goods and services;
WHEREAS: the ratification of NAFTA, combined with an increase in trade agreements between Latin American governments and the United States, will open Latin American markets that formerly were unavailable to businesses operating in the state of Louisiana;
WHEREAS: the Louisiana International Trade Commission, created by Executive Order MJF 97-12, issued on February 21, 1997, was established to stimulate growth in, and attract international trade and investment to, Louisiana businesses;
WHEREAS: by Act Number 588 of the 1997 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature, the Louisiana International Trade Commission was replaced and legislatively superseded by the creation of the Louisiana International Trade Development Board, R.S. 51:1351-8 (hereafter "the board"); and
WHEREAS: it would be beneficial to the future economic development of the State of Louisiana to create a commission which will focus specifically on Louisiana's trade with and investments in Latin America that will be charged with the duty of assisting Louisiana businesses in gaining a foothold and more aggressively competing in emerging Latin American markets;
NOW THEREFORE I, M.J. "MIKE" FOSTER, JR., Governor of the State of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:
SECTION 1: The Louisiana Latin American Business Development Commission (hereafter "commission") is created and established within the executive branch, Department of Economic Development.
SECTION 2: The duties and functions of the commission shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
SECTION 3: The commission shall submit on July 1 a comprehensive annual report to the board and the secretary of Department of Economic Development that addresses the issues set forth in Section 2.
SECTION 4: The advice and recommendations of the commission shall be consistent with the goals and objectives of both the board and the Louisiana Economic Development Council.
SECTION 5: The commission shall be comprised of 11 members who shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The membership of the commission shall be selected as follows:
SECTION 6: The Governor shall select the chair of the commission. The membership of the commission shall elect all other officers.
SECTION 7: The commission shall meet at regularly scheduled intervals and at the call of the chair.
SECTION 8: Support staff for the commission and facilities for its meetings shall be provided by the Department of Economic Development.
SECTION 9: The members of the commission shall not receive compensation or a per diem. Nonetheless, contingent upon the availability of funds, members who are not an employee of the state of Louisiana or one of its political subdivisions, or an elected official, may receive reimbursement from the Office of the Governor for actual travel expenses incurred, in accordance with state guidelines and procedures, with the prior written approval of the commissioner of administration and the Office of the Governor.
SECTION 10: All departments, commissions, boards, agencies, and officers of the state, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate with the commission in implementing the provisions of this Order.
SECTION 11: This Order is effective upon signature and shall remain in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the Governor, or terminated by operation of law.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the City of Baton Rouge, on this 3rd day of December 1997.
M.J. "Mike" Foster, Jr.
Secretary of State