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Arkansas Is a Growing Gateway to World Trade

Location USA 2012
Global recruitment and trade are key elements of Governor Mike Beebe's strategic plan for economic development. The Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) is committed to attracting and retaining the best companies and the most advanced industries from around the world.

Arkansas recognizes the strong, long-term economic opportunities originating from Europe and Asia. Together, European and Asian countries account for 12 of Arkansas's top 20 trading partners. AEDC now has an international team with two in-house project managers to focus on those regions, along with foreign offices in China and Japan.

Two key reasons many foreign companies (more than 100 and counting) locate and expand in Arkansas are its work force and superb location. Saint-Gobain, Unilever, Hino, Welspun, Nordex, Nestlé, and LM Wind Power all chose Arkansas because location was critical and a skilled work force is available. The state's central location puts any business in excellent position for transporting goods to both domestic and international markets.

The fact is, Arkansas is the nation's logistical capital and is a mid-point for North American trade. Its excellent transportation infrastructure and its ability to provide the work force a company needs to sustain itself make Arkansas the ideal location for all companies to consider when deciding where to locate.

Arkansas has a significant amount of international business activity, and its international presence continues to grow.
• Approximately 33,300 workers are employed by foreign-owned firms.
• More than half of the jobs created by foreign-owned entities are in manufacturing, mainly industrial machinery, primary and fabricated metals, rubber, and plastics.
• Foreign direct investment in Arkansas is responsible for 3.3 percent of the state's total private-industry employment.

The AEDC works very closely with both the Arkansas World Trade Center and the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Little Rock on export promotion, trade missions, and lead development. With exports totaling more than $585 million in 2010, the aircraft/aerospace industry represents Arkansas's top value-added export. More than 9,000 people are employed in aerospace occupations including aircraft parts and components, rocketry, air transportation services, aircraft repair and maintenance, and aircraft refurbishing. Other top exports include machinery, cereals, organic chemicals, electrical machinery, meat, plastic, and iron and steel.

Arkansas is home to people with a strong work ethic and available training for whatever the need. There are 11 four-year public universities, 22 two-year public colleges, 12 independent colleges and universities, and three technical universities/vocational-technical schools located in the state. But more importantly, what you will find when you are ready to begin hiring is that the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), working with other state agencies, offers a Career Readiness Certificate to potential employees. This helps make certain that the people you interview are qualified and those you hire have the skills - or can be trained in the skills - that you need. This greatly increases your return on your training dollars and efforts.

Find out how your company can find success in Arkansas.

Location Profile

Arkansas Economic Development Commission
Joe Bailey, Director of Business Development
900 West Capitol, Suite 400
Little Rock, AR 72201
1-800-ARKANSAS or 501-682-1121
Fax: 501-682-7499

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