RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — The World Trade Center of North Carolina is back in business, this time under the direction of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership.

The RTRP assumed control of the World Trade Center (WTCNC) in May and re-launched it as of Aug. 8 under the control of a new board and new officers. State funding for the WTCNC ceased in 2004 and the operation was shut down in 2005. The Center had been created in 1988.

The RTRP was granted control of the Center by the WTCNC in May, according to a statement from the regional economic partnership.

Doug Aitkin, vice president of global strategy for the RTRP, will serve as the Center’s director.

“In today’s global marketplace, our region’s economic future will depend on our ability to compete and connect with companies and partners around the world,” said RTRP Chief Executive Officer Charles Hayes. Hayes will also serve as president and interim chairman of the WTCNC board.

A study conducted by the regional partnership in 2005 said the Center “could be of great value” in promoting the region “if properly funded and positioned to coordinate the region’s global economic development initiatives,” the RTRP said in a statement.

“We see the new World Trade Center North Carolina at the heart of a growing and dynamic network of business, government, community and academic leaders who will work together to ensure that our companies and our communities are well positioned to do business successfully on a global scale,” Hayes added.

The WTCNC already has recruited a number of members who will provide financial support and direction.

Goals of the WTCNC include:

  • Increase foreign direct investment in the region
  • Promote global trade and exports
  • Elevate the region’s global brand and recognition
  • Educate the region’s leaders about global economic issues
  • Build global networks that promote trade and investment
  • Coordinate international activities regionally to achieve maximum results
  • The RTRP is a private-public partnership representing 13 counties in and around the Triangle.

    For more information about the WTCNC, see: