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Frontline: Metro Areas Join in Export Initiatives

To date, 28 cities across the country have come together under a pilot program called the Global Cities Initiative (GCI) to develop their foreign direct investment plans and volume of exports.

Q2 2015
Launched in Los Angeles in March 2012, Global Cities Initiative (GCI) is a $10 million, five-year project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase aimed at helping the leaders of metropolitan America strengthen their regional economies by becoming more competitive in the global marketplace by leveraging assets and focusing on key indicators such as advanced manufacturing, exports, and infrastructure.

A number of lessons have been learned by participating cities regarding promoting their locations for FDI as well as exports. Consequently, strategies are being put in place. Portland, Oregon, for one, released a metro export plan and is shifting the region’s economic development orientation toward global trade.
For Indianapolis to remain strong in the long term and create the jobs we need, we must have local systems in place to help firms export goods, services, and ideas across the globe Indianapolis Mayor Gregory A. Ballard
“We are doing outbound trips, taking firms overseas, connecting businesses with other businesses, and creating sales opportunities and joint-venture relationships,” states Chris Harder, manager of Economic Development for the Portland Development Commission (PDC).

PDC launched the Greater Portland Export Initiative Business Plan and completed the Westside “Freight Access and Logistics Analysis” to determine critical freight movement patterns from Westside computer and electronics companies to the Portland International Airport and other transfer points, and recommended improvements to the surface transportation system, travel patterns, and other options to improve business fluidity. PDC also implemented a pilot program for under-exporters, trained economic development professionals on export assistance, increased public awareness of export opportunities, organized trade missions, and signed the city’s first Trade City Partnership with Mayor Janssen of Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil.

“Our current work on exports has revealed significant interest throughout the world in both Portland companies and our way of life, with the Daimler Trucks North America $150 million investment our most recent example,” says PDC Executive Director Patrick Quinton.
Portland Development Commission (PDC) also implemented a pilot program for under-exporters, trained economic development professionals on export assistance, increased public awareness of export opportunities, organized trade missions, and signed the city’s first Trade City Partnership with Mayor Janssen of Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil
As another example, Indianapolis has developed a comprehensive Metro Indy Export Plan that aims to grow the number of exporting companies in the region 20 percent by 2020.

“By shifting our economic strategy to a global approach, we will be able to expand the resources available to companies looking to tap into the international marketplace and meet the high demand for U.S. goods and services,” notes Michael Huber, Indy Chamber president and CEO.

The plan includes a support system for small- and mid-sized enterprises exploring international markets. This encompasses export training, a single point of contact for export assistance, free online market data and analysis, and a “matchmaking” portal to find shared transportation and logistics opportunities to lower costs. The plan also promotes mentoring and supply-chain relationships between major exporters and new entrants, creating industry-wide opportunities.

“For Indianapolis to remain strong in the long term and create the jobs we need, we must have local systems in place to help firms export goods, services, and ideas across the globe,” explains Indianapolis Mayor Gregory A. Ballard. “Our export plan is the foundation of that effort. It positions Indianapolis to grow into a center for advanced production and services and helps ensure economic prosperity for the region.”
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