May is International Trade Month
World Trade Month was first celebrated as World Trade Week in 1927 by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. According to the Chamber, “This occurred during a time of isolationism and under the conditions prevailing during the heyday of the restrictive Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act.”
In 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made World Trade Week a national observance to be celebrated during the third week of May each year. Roosevelt made this proclamation after he won passage of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act in 1934, which, according to William E. Leuchtenburg, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of North Carolina, “allowed him to grant ‘most favored nation’ trade status to countries with which the United States worked out trade agreements.”
Since 1935 World Trade Week has been celebrated during the entire month of May by a number of federal agencies, state trade offices, area chambers of commerce, World Trade Centers, trade associations, and other public and private organizations. These celebrations include award ceremonies and educational programs throughout the country.