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News & Press: Chairman's Message

Chairman's Message: July 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016   (0 Comments)
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Dear members and friends,




I hope everyone is enjoying his or her summer.  We are gearing up for our 30 Year Celebration taking place on September 15th at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in Baltimore.  I hope I see you all there as we celebrate our 30 year history with MDHCC’s former chairmen and chairwomen, VIPS and community leaders, great networking and delicious food. Registration opens this week so be on the lookout for more details soon.

I recently returned from Chicago after attending training and networking with the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) and the USHCC Foundation. Included here is a picture of USHCC’s President and CEO Javier Palomarez and me.  We had a meaningful conversation about the great things our Chamber wants to accomplish in collaboration with other Hispanic chambers of commerce in Maryland and we will be meeting in D.C. sometime in August to continue our discussion and finalize our strategy.  I believe having the USHCC as a close partner is important to our development and growth.


Lastly, though our Chamber prides itself in being non-partisan and has a rich history of challenging both parties on issues concerning Hispanic businesses and the policies which support them and our community, we do not live under a rock.  While neither the Republican nor Democratic presidential candidates have spoken specifically about a strategy to help Hispanic-owned businesses, I waited patiently throughout the Republican National Convention to see a glimmer of hope.


Aside from the single Latino Senator who spoke (who was not a former candidate like Cruz or Rubio), there was almost no attention paid to us, the 60 million Latinos responsible for opening small businesses at 15 times the national average; responsible for generating over $661 billion dollars per year in sales from these entrepreneurial businesses—a number that grew 88% in 8 years; responsible for over 50% of the U.S. population growth between 2000 and 2010 – driven largely by births; responsible for contributing to over $1.5 Trillion in purchasing power to our national economy.  A group that collectively represent almost 1 out of 5 Americans, and 1 in 4 of kindergarteners.


Unfortunately, nothing I heard from the nominee assuaged my concerns of the path that this country will take, or what the national dialogue will look like when generalizing Mexicans as criminals and Muslims as terrorists, indeed, the Antithesis of our values as Americans, becomes the social norm. 


My concerns about the Republican nominee economically, echo those of economists who understand global trade and the effects to consumers and businesses due to tariffs. Reimposing those high tariffs will reignite trade wars, and going back to a “command” economy would hurt us all, but especially our small businesses. “In the late 1920s the Republican establishment actually embraced the very positions Trump is advocating today,” said economist Lee Branstetter, with Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and the Peterson Institute for International economics in Washington in a July 25, 2016 USA TODAY piece.


“As the Great Depression began, Republicans reacted to economic weakness with a plan to raise tariffs on thousands of goods to levels exceeding 60 percent. Economists opposed it, and Henry Ford denounced it as ‘economic stupidity.’ Democrats were more pro-trade and they opposed the bill. But President Herbert Hoover, desperate to ensure his own re-election and wanting to curry favor with workers who were increasingly worried about an economic slowdown, signed the bill in 1930. History tells us what happened next.” Those policies deepened the Great Recession, they did not help.


We will be watching attentively what happens this week during the Democratic Convention and wish you a continued successful summer.




Jorge Eduardo Castillo


Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce



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