In another fantastic globaltrade.net round up, potential for partnerships with Germany and Oklahoma-based firms are great.
According to a recent release from the Federation of International Trade Professionals, “The United States are the second biggest destination for German goods after the European Union and the United States are the fourth largest supplier of Germany. The U.S.-German Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation guarantees investors in Germany national treatment and allows the free movement of capital between the United States and Germany. Taxation of US firms within Germany is regulated by a protocol on the avoidance of double taxation.
“According to U.S. Census data, trade in goods between the United States and Germany totaled $163.5 billion in 2016.”
For Oklahoma-based firms, producers and manufacturers, there are great commercial opportunities in health, food, agricultural machinery and bio-tech sectors.
In Oklahoma, a great asset is our honorary consular corps, with Germany’s Honorary Consul, Jeremy Tubb a great resource for those wanting to connect with Germany.
Given the vast distances between Oklahoma and Peru, one wouldn’t readily consider academic and professional exchanges between the two to be prominent. Yet that discounts one of Oklahoma’s hardest working honorary consuls, Peru’s Enrique Villar-Gambetta, who recently announced that three Oklahoma-based higher education institutions had been invited to the 2016 International University Fair in Cusco, Peru on November 25-26.
According to Villar-Gambetta, there are only 80 universities invited to the annual event, and the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and the University of Central Oklahoma were among that select list.
Villar-Gambetta has worked strenuously in recent years to foster closer education ties between Peru and Oklahoma. Currently, Oklahoma City University has a five year exchange program agreement with the South American country for Peruvian students interested in getting a higher education degree there.
The college fair are ample opportunities to finance scholarships through the Peruvian Ministry of Education’s National Scholarship and Education Credit Program under Pronabec, which is also a leading sponsor of the 2016 International University Fair.
To learn more about opportunities with Peru in education and commercial sectors, reach out to Enrique Villar-Gambetta.
With a country as large as the United States, diplomatic representatives from other nations must allot time and money in major American cities to post their professional diplomatic corps. Whereas embassies are located in the capitol of Washington D.C., places like New York City, Los Angeles and Houston are common locales for foreign diplomats called Consul Generals. Yet another layer of contact also exists for these nations, with a corps of Honorary Consul in communities across the U.S. acting as official points of contact outside of major American cities. In Oklahoma City this summer, Peruvian Honorary Consul Enrique Villar-Gambetta spent several days hosting a polling place for Peruvian citizens casting ballots for their home country’s presidential election between Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and Keiko Fujimori. OKGIT.com spoke to Villar-Gambetta about these responsibilities.
Tell us a bit about your role organizing the votes for Peruvian expatriates here in Oklahoma for Peru’s presidential election.
“It was my first experience as a consul from my country being in charge of a Peruvian general election for the new president and members of the Peruvian Congress. In normal circumstances my jurisdiction is the State of Oklahoma. I was in charge of the organization and elections in three states – Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas – which according to our records, equaled around 1,700 electors.
“The location for that event was Oklahoma City. Catholic Charities of OKC gave us tremendous support.”
What is the process like holding an election for Peru in Oklahoma City?
“First, the Peruvian Embassy in Washington D.C. contacts the U.S. State Department communicating that this official act will take place. Once it is official, I sent communications to the mayor of OKC and to the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s office to inform them this electoral process will take place in the city.”
“Through diplomatic pouch from Lima, Peru, I received the large list of electors, which we convened. In this election, Peruvians had to cast votes in two rounds. The first one was on April 5; the second one on June 5.”
“The winner in the second round of elections was Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, of the PPK. He is a well-known Peruvian economist. He studied economy, politics and philosophy at Oxford and has a master’s degree from Princeton. He lived a long period of time in the U.S. and worked in the World Bank, among other entities in New York.
What was the preparation process like to hold an election, including the day of?
“For this election we worked closely with the Consulate General of Peru in Dallas, Texas. They were in charge of the elections in Dallas, and we coordinated actions. The day of the election, as people arrived to vote promptly at 8 a.m., we had already set up teams to meet them and direct them to their polling tables. The team members communicated through radios because we were on different floors. We also had a team to aid voters with disabilities. All went smoothly and we were able to close the tables at 4 p.m., as instructed by Peruvian Law.
“During the event there were a few issues that had to be resolved. As honorary consul I was in charge at the site, having to accommodate without interfering with the voting process in accordance with Peruvian law, which governs the whole procedure. The consul is the last official who can solve a question in the field.
“I spoke with many people, young and old on Election Day. I was very pleased to sense the spirit that motivated them to give their vote, some after many years of being away from Peru. Some drove seven or eight hours to cast their vote, as proud and concerned Peruvians. Others had not visited Peru for ten or more years, but they still wanted to be a part of it.”
Enrique Villar-Gambetta is the Honorary Consul for Peru in Oklahoma. He has been a member of the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team since 2013, and currently practices law in Lima, Peru, where his law offices are located. He specializes in foreign investment, corporate law, criminal law, and international commercial relations. He is advisor in international business to a very important and large list of clients in Peru and other countries.
(Banner photo of the site of the Peruvian expatriate polling location, Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City, photograph by John Hill.)
The OKGIT has a host of resources available for international visitors – both business, academic and cultural – amongst our members. Check out our list of honorary consuls who are GIT members here.
If they can’t help you, we have ample resources to point you in the right direction through our numerous partners in the region.
Just two short months after her posting as the new British Consul General to Houston, Karen Bell visited the Oklahoma State Capitol on October 6, 2015 for a meeting with state leaders and officials, including members of the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team. The visit, which included a meeting with Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, and luncheon with members of the state house, senate and supreme court and other cabinet members took place in the senate lounge. OKGIT member and honorary British Consul for Oklahoma, Roger Randle, organized the event for the incoming Houston consul, which was attended by other OKGIT members including State Superintendent of Schools Joy Hoffmeister, Secretary of State Chris Benge as well as former U.S. Ambassador Edwin Corr.
While many their counterparts near international borders or the coasts have a distinct advantage to forging international ties, landlocked states like Oklahoma often rely on building on personal connections through well-known public servants and private citizens. One former Oklahoma politician, Roger Randle serves just such role as the honorary consul for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The Tulsa-born Randle first went abroad as a member of the Peace Corps, a volunteer program begun during the Kennedy Administration that sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. When asked on how a native Tulsan found himself heading across international borders and time zones to serve others on behalf of the United States at the height of the Cold War, Randle laughs.
“That’s a natural question us Peace Corps people ask each other, ‘Why did you go into the Peace Corps?’” said Randle. “I was at the very beginning of the program, and in those days it was quite a romantic undertaking. It was a combination of a sense of adventure and a confidence of believe in our ability to go out into the world and do good based on our best intentions.”
Randle explained that the sense of Americans’ “can do” mentality often ran into the reality of life on the ground once their assignments began.
“We learned that these local people know about some things a lot better than we do. We got caught up in reality.”
Randle served a year in the Peace Corps, stationed in the Brazilian of Pernambuco. In a somewhat strange twist, Randle’s future wife was also serving in Brazil at the same time in the adjoining state, though they did not meet until years later.
Though his stint in Brazil was cut short due to the death of his father, Randle is fluent in Portuguese. In fact, he says that the majority of the reading he does to this day is in it or Spanish.
“When I was a civil servant for the City of Tulsa, there wasn’t very much global interest in Oklahoma, but I did travel. Whenever I had my vacation time, I would leave the country and head to Mexico or South America. I went because in those days, with airplane tickets being so expensive, I tried to visit places that didn’t require a lot of flying.”
Returning to Oklahoma, he was elected to the state house of representatives in 1970 and state senate in 1972. He served four terms total as a senator, twice as President Pro Tempore. While focused on Oklahoma’s domestic concerns as a member of the legislature, Randle maintained an interest in the world outside America’s borders. He credits the vision of Governor George Nigh and Lieutenant Governor Spencer Bernard with helping expand Oklahoma’s international ties.
“We had leaders who had a vision of the value of being international, and I wanted to be a part of it,” he recalled.
In 1988, Randle moved from the statehouse to city hall as the elected mayor of Tulsa. In that role he led the way in developing that town’s international ties, including extending invitations to the then-president of Venezuela.
“We tried to raise the horizon of the community of the value and importance of international ties,” he explained. “We had activities to get the community involved, and I supported the effort to bring the national conference of the Sister Cities Program to Tulsa while I was mayor.”
As the former mayor looks back at the conference, in which he and the Sister Cities’ representative entered on horseback, he notes it as another great opportunity to build Oklahoma’s international ties. Through Tulsa’s hosting of the event, then-Mayor Randle served on the Sister Cities’ national board of directors, a position that eventually led to a term as the president and chairman of the group.
Randle also sits on the board of the Governor’s International Economic Development Team, the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team and the Tulsa Global Alliance. He is past chairman of the Tulsa Committee on Foreign Relations and a former member of the U.N. Association of Northeastern Oklahoma. He is currently Director for the Center for Studies in Democracy and Culture and a professor of human relations at the University of Oklahoma’s Tulsa campus.
Prominent amongst those roles is his current position as the Honorary British Consul in Oklahoma. Randle is amongst a handful of honorary consuls in the Sooner State working as local representatives of foreign nations in their relations, be they commercial, cultural or educational with Oklahoma.
“I have enjoyed being able to observe the British administrative system,” noted Randle. “It’s fascinating for me to see administrators in a different national and cultural context operate when we have meetings. We have such close cultural ties to the U.K., but the differences are very interesting.”
If you would like to learn more about the honorary consuls based in Oklahoma, please contact the Rico Buchli of the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team. If you would like to learn more about Roger Randle, Honorary Consul for the United Kingdom, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Top photo: Tulsa Skyline – By Caleb Long)