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Paul Suplizio reports on progress in carrying out decisions of the Paris Conference of IRTA/Europe and the Eurasian Assembly.

Pan-European Trade Network Envisioned

First, we are making good progress to incorporate IRTA/Europe as a legal non-governmental organization within the European Union. Following the recommendation of the Paris Conference, the Global Board of Directors of IRTA approved this action, and as soon as incorporation is complete we will proceed immediately to the next step, which is to apply for an EU grant to provide financial and technical support for integration and expansion of Europe�s barter networks as a business innovation initiative.

We intend to engage the grant-application process as soon as possible to get IRTA/Europe off to a good start by an infusion of capital and technical assistance to help existing trade companies expand, help new start-ups grow, and help link our networks through the new UC euro trading platform that is now operational. We also hope by this means to encourage all barter companies in Europe and Asia to come into IRTA and stand alongside your colleagues to build a great trade network spanning two continents and rivaling that of our forbears of the Hanse.

Barter companies in Europe who have been standing on the sidelines, and thus far have not joined our concerted actions to advance our common industry, now have one more good reason to join IRTA/Europe and help bring the vision of a pan-European trade network to fruition. Standing aside will retard an advance your company can greatly benefit from, for the Pan-European Trade Network will be owned by members of IRTA/Europe and you will have a deciding voice, as a member of the Governing Board, in how its benefits will be shared. Make no mistake about it, this grant money will be for you, and you will decide how it will be allocated.

I am sorry to report that Alina Piddubna, Managing Director of Bartex in Kiev, Ukraine has taken on higher responsibilities and will be unable to continue guiding the EU incorporation project. Alina deserves our thanks for her efforts in pushing this project so far, and I am happy to report that Dariusz Brzozowiec of Barter Systems Poland has volunteered to replace Alina in directing this project. Dariusz will work with Dori Szabo, President of GlobalXchange in Budapest, who has already laid the groundwork to advance the project and the grant application as soon as articles of incorporation are completed.

Second, responding to Europe�s desire for a euro trading platform for inter-company trades, IRTA Executive Director and UC Director Ron Whitney reports that the UC euro platform is now open for business. Trades may now be completed in UC euros and balances held in UC euros. The Universal Currency system, owned by IRTA members,

is the world�s foremost trading platform for trades among barter companies with different currencies and is readily accessible on the internet. Thus, the infrastructure for a pan-European trade network is now in place, and we must thank Ron for giving this project a high priority upon his return from Paris.  

Third, the IRTA Global Board of Directors has approved a letter to Commissioner Michel Barnier, Directorate General of Internal Market and Services, European Commission, requesting that trade clearinghouses be exempt from regulations dealing with financial clearinghouses, and cautioning that some parts of regulations dealing with financial clearinghouses may be construed as applying to trade clearinghouses. This letter was previously approved by IRTA/Europe and Assembly members at the Paris Conference on May 2. It will be signed jointly by the President of IRTA and the Chairman of IRTA/Europe.

Fourth, we are seeking proposals for a location for the next meeting of IRTA/Europe and the Assembly of Barter Companies of Europe and Asia, tentatively scheduled for April 16-17 or April 30-May 1, 2011. We have already a proposal from Dori Szabo to hold the meeting in Budapest, Milan and Florence are interested, and if anyone else wishes to make a proposal, we shall be glad to hear from you.

Remember that, as a member of the Governing Board of IRTA/Europe (or of the Assembly for non-IRTA members), you may bring up any matter at any time and ask that it be brought before the whole body for discussion and possible adoption. All of us think about our industry, its place in the worldwide scheme of things, and how we can improve our profession. When you have an idea to share, or a proposal to make, remember you may place it before the group at any time simply by contacting me, your Secretary. Should you wish my advice, I am always happy to respond.

Finally, recall that each of you, as an IRTA/Europe member, has a seat and vote on the Governing Board and that all decisions are made by the Governing Board alone. The only officer positions of IRTA/Europe at present are the Chairman of the Governing Board and the Treasurer � the latter position having been filled in Paris.

After all nominations are received for Chairperson, I shall write you again to inform you of the persons nominated. At that time I will ask you to vote by e-mail for one person from the list of nominees. The person receiving the most votes will be deemed elected, provided no objection is made to this manner of election.

Member, Global Board of Directors (for Europe)
International Reciprocal Trade Association
Secretary to the Assembly

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