Monday, May 12, 2008

Georgia ramps up international marketing efforts

As the nation observes Invest in America Week, Georgia is stepping up its efforts on the global stage with a new international business center in China, a new alliance with Canadian provinces and a successful string of international business missions.

“We truly are in a global marketplace and as a state, Georgia is continuing to reach out to market our opportunities abroad,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). “I commend the team at Invest in America for supporting our efforts to attract international trade and investment to our state and the U.S. as a whole.”

As the inaugural Invest in America week concludes today, state leaders recognize how crucial international relationships are to helping Georgia grow. A part of the federal International Trade Administration, Invest in America helps promote trade and investment, strengthens industry competitiveness and ensures fair trade.

Georgia’s staff at home and abroad has been successful in developing more leads for international trade and investment. Its 11 international offices generated 40 percent more leads between July 2007 and April 2008 than the same period a year before, and its international trade division saw a 104 percent jump in leads during that period.

With that in mind, GDEcD is redoubling its international marketing efforts.

In April, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue wrapped up a successful mission to China. During the trip, Gov. Perdue opened the state’s new business center in Beijing, made business calls and welcomed a Chinese high-tech company to Atlanta.

This week, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle was in Brazil, calling on businesses and forging important relationships with a key trading partner. Last week Commissioner Stewart traveled to Europe to call on businesses.

In June, Savannah will host the inaugural Southeastern United States-Canadian Provinces Alliance (SEUS-Canada) meeting, which is expected to draw 500 participants from various business sectors, chambers of commerce, and government, including state governors, provincial premiers and ambassadors. The alliance is modeled on SEUS-Japan, a successful, decades-long partnership among eight southeastern states and Japan.

In August, Atlanta will again play host to the Americas Competitiveness Forum. The conference focuses on workforce development, innovation, small business development and global supply chain strategies. More than 1,000 representatives from government, academia, non-profits and the business world converged on Atlanta for the inaugural ACF in 2007 and this year’s session will continue to promote strategies for prosperity in the Western hemisphere.

GDEcD won special recognition for its exporting efforts last year when President George W. Bush gave the department the prestigious E-Star award, the federal government’s highest award for excellence in exporting. The state is also wrapping up its first year of four for the Global Georgia initiative, which markets Georgia abroad.

Invest in America is the primary U.S. Government mechanism to manage foreign direct investment promotion. Efforts are focused on outreach to foreign governments and investors, support for state governments’ investment promotion efforts, and addressing business climate concerns by serving as ombudsman in Washington for the international investment community.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state's sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a location for film, video and music projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development.

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