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World Trade Expert to Plan, Participate in United Nations Event

By Erin Garrett

University of Mississippi

Anthony Cambas (second from right) meets with Erin Hayne (left), Nuno Gonçalves and Kevin Laird, all of NunoErin, an interactive furniture company in Jackson. Cambas assists clients across Mississippi, including NunoErin, with their exporting and is helping plan an event for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Submitted photo

As the Mississippi Small Business Development Center‘s resident international trade expert, Anthony Cambas has assisted hundreds of entrepreneurs and businesses in selling their products and services worldwide. 

Soon, the impact of his work will be felt far beyond Mississippi. He is part of a multinational team helping plan an event hosted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Developmentand the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation.

The online event, Trade Facilitation Innovation Days, is slated for Sept. 19-20. Cambas attended the inaugural event last year and participated in a panel discussion about special trade regimes. He will again participate in a panel, as well as assist in organizing the upcoming event.

“This is a unique honor,” said Cambas, who is also an adjunct instructor of management for the University of Mississippi’s School of Business Administration. “The conference ties into the World Economic Forum and is attended by government officials and top industry representatives from around the world. 

“The issue of trade facilitation requires coordination between customs officials and the private sector. Entrepreneurs and small businesses are particularly impacted by trade facilitation or the lack of it.”

Organizing committee members Celine Bacrot, UNCTAD economic affairs officer, and Ines Knäpper, innovation and hackathon lead at the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, extended the invitation to Cambas and other trade experts to co-create the event.

Bacrot said that Cambas’ input is essential to identifying challenges and opportunities, as well as “drafting the agenda of the next edition of the TFID based on concrete issues and solutions on the ground.”

“(Cambas) is a hands-on person, a technician of trade facilitation, knowing the nitty-gritty of the sector with concrete and real examples from various places in the world,” Bacrot said. “Therefore, his contribution lies in the fact that he brings relevance and impact to the discussions as well as the innovations taking place in trade facilitation.

“Trade facilitation and customs are very technical subjects, and having such experts like Anthony Cambas is extremely precious to ensure relevance of our work and can contribute to government efficiency, economic development and increase in international trade.”

Cambas, who has more than 30 years of experience in international trade, joined the Mississippi SBDC in March 2020 and has counseled numerous businesses in ways that they can grow their exports. Many businesses are engaging in international trade and do not even know it, he said. 

“Many people still equate international trade exclusively with goods,” Cambas said. “For example, if you give tours to international visitors and you are a consultant with clients located in other countries, you may be an exporter of services, and there may be resources available to help you with export financing and advisory services.

“Even education is considered an export of services when an institute of higher learning, such as the University of Mississippi, attracts international students.

Sharon Nichols, state director of the Mississippi SBDC, said Cambas is an “invaluable asset” to Mississippi’s business owners.

“He empowers them with the knowledge and strategies needed to thrive in the global marketplace,” Nichols said. “He is opening doors to new opportunities and driving economic growth across the state by equipping these business owners with the tools to navigate complex international trade landscapes, unleashing their true potential on a global scale.”

Cambas, who is multilingual, worked with U.S. Customs and Border Protection as an import specialist and import specialist team leader for seven years. He’s also served in more than 20 countries as a senior adviser to U.S. and foreign donors and governments on customs and international trade matters. 

He specializes in customs and border management, trade facilitation and export assistance.

Cambas relishes any opportunity to discuss his field – whether that be among faculty and students, with small business owners, or with global industry leaders. He said he particularly enjoys explaining the changing nature of international trade and the dynamic and multifaceted role of customs and border management.

“One of my strategies is to expand the footprint of the SBDC and the University of Mississippi nationally and globally” he said. “I am constantly looking at ways for companies in the state to pursue more international trade opportunities: What about maritime technology and the Blue Economy? What about music? What about the Blues Trail and other cultural offerings? What about higher education? What about outer space? 

“There are trade considerations from the bottom of the ocean to outer space. I think this is only the beginning.”


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Adam Brown
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