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Why these Elite Lone Star State Cities are Right for Your Business

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Why these Elite Lone Star State Cities are Right for Your Business

When it comes to site selection, there are a lot of big choices to be made. From locating a city with a business-friendly environment to selecting the perfect site to build your business, it can be hard to find a place that has everything you need if you go it alone. But that’s not a problem when you “Choose Texas.” The Choose Texas program wants to help you make the easiest choice you’ll ever make: to choose to relocate or expand in the Lone Star State.

The Choose Texas program helps new or expanding businesses looking to relocate in the state by introducing them to cities or towns that match their individual needs. Always free for businesses, the Choose Texas program can help with locating incentives, finding properties and getting valuable facetime with local economic development professionals. For more than 25 years, the team at Choose Texas has been helping new and expanding businesses relocate to Texas, all the while helping grow the economy within the state. 

Whether you’re already considering a move to Texas or are just beginning your site selection journey, these Texas communities are eager to tell you why Choosing Texas is right for your business.

CENTRAL TEXAS

Belton

Located along the I-35 corridor between Waco and Austin, Belton has a population of just under 22,000 and access to a regional population of over 450,000. With current major industries that include military, government, manufacturing, retail, agriculture and medical, the Belton area boasts a young, skilled workforce that is perfect for shift and part-time labor. Belton is also close to Fort Hood, the largest U.S. Army training post in the country, with more than 900 retiring soldiers each month—many of whom elect to remain in the Belton area after discharge.

Ana Borchardt, director of Business Expansion and Retention for the Belton Economic Development Corp., cites the hospitable climate in Texas among the many things that make it prime for incoming businesses. “In most parts of the state, the climate allows for higher productivity, housing costs are mostly below the national average, and the people are friendly,” explains Borchardt. “In addition, the Texas hills, valleys, rivers, lakes and the Gulf Coast shoreline offer many outdoor recreational opportunities.” Belton is no exception. With its captivating scenery, highly rated schools and low crime-rate, the city is poised to welcome a variety of incoming businesses.

Mexia

Located along US 84 in the heart of the “Texas Triangle,” Mexia is just 90 miles south of the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area, and it connects to San Antonio, Houston and Austin via state and interstate highways, making it an ideal distribution hub. In fact, you can reach 93 percent of the U.S. population within 48 hours of Mexia.

Additionally, Mexia boasts a skilled workforce, with access to a more than 40-mile-wide labor pool of over 85,000 workers. Mexia workers excel in manufacturing, customer service administration and distribution, and local workforce training programs such as the Texas Workforce CommissionHeart of Texas Workforce and the Skills Development Fund can assist with training the next generation of employees for incoming businesses.

Click here to listen to their latest podcast.

NORTH TEXAS

Bowie

Just outside the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area in the famed Red River Valley area of Texas sits Bowie. Positioned at the crossroads of US 81, US 287 and TX 59, Bowie is just 90 minutes from downtown Dallas, an hour from Fort Worth and under an hour from Wichita Falls. With a variety of available properties and workforce development programs at the ready, Bowie can help your incoming business get off the ground running. 

A designated 4A and 4B sales tax community, Bowie offers incoming businesses a one-stop-shop for economic development. The city of just over 5,500 provides site selectors with a lower cost of doing business, along with highly rated schools, excellent healthcare and a thriving business community.

Corsicana

Located 58 miles south of downtown Dallas, Corsicana has made a name for itself, especially in the food manufacturing industries. Formerly the home of Wolf Chili, Corsicana today boasts the Collin Street Bakery, a famous fruitcake bakery, and Russell Stover. It is also where distribution centers for retail giants like Kohl’s and Home Depot are located. Though the city is outside of the traffic and congestion of its neighbors, thanks to its proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area Corsicana benefits from the convenience and access to the city but provides businesses and residents with lower operational costs than the big city. 

Commercial flyers are just one hour away from DFW International airport, and those looking for cargo airports are within 75 minutes of Fort Worth Alliance Airport. Just 200 miles from the Port of Houston and 230 from the Port of Beaumont, Corsicana is convenient to ocean freight terminals. It is also accessible by rail, with service from the Union Pacific and Burlington North Santa Fe railroads. It is also just over 30 minutes to the Union Pacific Dallas Intermodal Terminal.

TexAmericas Center

The New Boston, Texas-based TexAmericas Center is one of the largest industrial centers in the Americas. Located just 15 miles west of Texarkana, the center boasts 12,000 acres with 3,000,000 square feet of industrial space, and it is the lowest aggregate mile location in Texas to reach the North American market.

TexAmericas Center Executive Vice President Eric Voyles believes businesses should Choose Texas because of the state’s diverse economy “where many industries can flourish.” According to Voyles, his center prides itself on working with small to medium-sized companies that may not have otherwise gotten a chance—and helping them flourish in a competitive marketplace. “We know these companies are growing and need to move quickly,” says Voyles. “They have opportunity NOW, and our focus is on providing speed-to-market real estate solutions. The match is perfect, and TexAmericas Center has developed a niche of meeting the needs of these often-overlooked employers.”

That’s a sentiment that Voyles says rings true throughout Texas and the Choose Texas partners. “Texas and many of its communities have invested in themselves in order to make choosing the right location less risky, especially when it comes to workforce development decisions. TexAmericas Center prides itself on being a ‘can-do’ company. We actively challenge the companies we work with to ask us to help solve their business problems.” 

 Cedar Hill

Just 20 minutes from downtown Dallas, Cedar Hill is a rising star in the economic development marketplace. Cedar Hill offers incoming businesses low taxes, low costs of living and a skilled workforce of more than 1 million people within a 30-minute commute. Cedar Hill hosts over 3 million square feet of retail and class-A office space, all without the cost and congestion of larger nearby cities.

Andy Buffington, Marketing and Research manager with the Cedar Hill Economic Development Corp., says site selectors should bring their businesses to Texas because the of the state’s reputation as a growth leader, especially when it comes to business incentives. “It’s estimated the state spends 1.3 percent of its GDP on business incentives,” says Buffington. “Texas also offers a variety of non-profit and government-backed programs for assisting small businesses with funding, coupled with the fact that neither corporate nor personal income tax are put on enterprise.”

DeSoto

Not far south from downtown Dallas, DeSoto is a uniquely poised city with the benefits of access to the big city and major highways, but without the higher cost of doing business in a metropolitan area. DeSoto currently has more than 400 acres of shovel-ready land, and 93 percent of U.S. markets are within two days or less via truck from the city of just over 56,000. With 90 percent of DeSoto’s workforce holding a high school diploma or higher, it’s no wonder that the city boasts a low 5 percent unemployment rate for its labor force of nearly 30,000. In fact, DeSoto’s labor force is growing faster than the national average.

 Joe Newman, CEO of the DeSoto Economic Development Corp., believes that the labor force and partnerships with organizations such as the Texas Workforce Commission are just a few of the key reasons businesses are so eager to call Texas home. That, coupled with a little help from their friends. “Oftentimes large companies see what their peers in other industries are doing and inquire as to why that firm moved,” Newman says. “Most often it is logistics or workforce, and most communities offer attractive incentives to justify such a move. As more and more companies move to Texas, it causes a synergy that attracts others.”

GULF COAST

 Brazoria County

One of the fastest-growing counties in Texas is home to the Brazoria County Alliance, an organization that was formed to “promote and diversify” the county’s economic base and attract high-wage jobs. 

Located in the southeast part of the state in the Houston statistical area, Brazoria County has a population of more than 313,000.

 Matagorda County

Beautiful Matagorda County is halfway between Galveston and Corpus Christi and just 65 miles from the Houston metropolitan area. The county boasts a population of more than 36,000 with a total workforce population of over 18,000. The average household income of Matagorda County residents is $40,860, and the major industries include education, healthcare, farming, ranching, seafood, petroleum, manufacturing, pipeline and production among others.

The county, which is part of a growing energy cluster, is seeking retail and residential partners to help fill the growing needs for the workforce of the future and for the tourism industry for beachfront needs. The county is home to the Port of Palacios, which boasts one of the largest shrimping fleets in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Port of Bay City, which is home to a terminal turning basin and includes a modern concrete dock, metal shed and liquid cargo dock. With a 200-foot-wide channel and an average depth of 12 feet, the Port Turning Basin and Terminal Facility are conveniently located 15 miles from the Colorado River locks at the ICW.

EAST TEXAS

Grapeland/Crockett

Named for the legendary David Crockett, who is said to have camped in the town on his way to The Alamo, Crockett, Texas is the Houston County seat. Today, the storied town of 23,000 is more than just a stop along the way; it’s home to a thriving community with industries ranging from manufacturing to logistics.

In fact, Grapeland/Crockett is in an ideal position for your business’ logistics needs of the future. With projected area growth of 25 million more people to the Texas Triangle area in the next 30 years, Grapeland/Crockett provides a low traffic impact that will likely avoid the bottlenecks and traffic congestion that is projected for other nearby areas. Plus, with its proximity to highways US 287, TX 19 and Highways 21, 7 and 9, it has access all its own.

Mount Pleasant

Located in Titus County, Mount Pleasant has a population of 32,000. Thanks to its proximity to major transportation routes, the community owes much of its success to the transportation industry as well as the people working behind the scenes to ensure that sector’s success.

 Also known for its timber and poultry industries, Mount Pleasant is currently working to expand its workforce repertoire through a partnership between the Mount Pleasant Economic Development Corp. and the local community college system. Called the Manufacturing Technology Training Center, this workforce education program trains students in entrepreneurial skills that will help ensure Mount Pleasant remains a leader in Texas business for years to come.

WEST TEXAS

Floydada

Located in Floyd County, Floydada is known as the Pumpkin Capital of Texas. With high premiums on education, Floydada is the only city in the state that has the honor of their schools being Apple Computers’ distinguished schools. 

Floydada also has many free workforce training programs for residents that are run through the Floydada Professional Development Center and the Floydada Economic Development Corporation. Employers can even request financial assistance to train workers through the Skills Development Fund and the Self-Sufficiency Fund as administered by the Texas Workforce Commission

Seminole

Located at the northern portion of the Permian Basin and along the southern portion of the agricultural South Plains of Texas, Seminole is best known for its agriculture and oil and steel production. The town has a highly skilled workforce with expertise in fields ranging from metal and woodworking to carpentry and construction.  

A family-oriented community, Seminole also boasts a low crime rate and diverse business community.

Andrews

A city experiencing tremendous transformation, Andrews was initially built on oil and has since become one of the “most progressive” communities in West Texas, diversifying its portfolio of businesses in recent years. “Andrews is in the middle of the shale oil boom and we provide a great location for companies to set up business and serve clients all over the Permian Basin,” says Morse Haynes, executive director of Economic Development for Andrews.

 With significant investments in the city and education system, Andrews is now a modernized community poised to take on new businesses, but with expertise in everything from manufacturing to energy to chemicals. It is that very investment in the Texas workforce that Haynes believes is what sets the state apart from other states. “Texas has over 14 million productive workers along with top-notch schools that continue to grow our workforce,” he says. That, combined with the world’s most diverse economy, “provides job opportunities and a quality of life second to none.”

 Stamford

Part of the Rolling Plains area of Texas, Stamford has a population of just over 3,000 people. Located along US Highway 277, the small town has a strong economy in agriculture and natural resources.

Named in 1900 for the Stamford, Connecticut, birthplace of Central Texas Railroad President Henry King McHarg, the town today boasts a convenient location that is desirable to incoming businesses. Just 41 miles north of Abilene, and fewer than 150 miles west of Fort Worth, Stamford is close to both DFW International airport and the DFW Metroplex. It is also under 150 miles southeast of Lubbock.

Dumas

Located in Moore County, Dumas is halfway between Dallas and Denver, Colorado, and just 45 miles north of Amarillo. With just over 14,691 people, Dumas has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S., and it leads the state in retail growth. Dumas counts as major industries beef slaughtering, chemicals, gas and oil. 

The city places a high premium on education, with a branch of Amarillo College located in town as well as the North Plains Opportunity Center, a training center for  at-risk students and continuing education.

Check out their GT Podcast here. 

NORTHWEST TEXAS 

 Amarillo

The largest city in the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo is the 14th most populous city in the state, with a population of approximately 276,000 in its metropolitan area. Amarillo boasts a young, educated and non-unionized labor force that grew by more than 15 percent from 2000 to 2011. 

Amarillo prides itself on being able to match incoming businesses with valuable incentives and a skilled workforce, and it offers a number of workforce training programs.

Canadian-Hemphill County

Referred to as the “Oasis of the High Plains,” Canadian-Hemphill County is situated on the Oklahoma border. Founded in 1876, the county was named for Judge John Hemphill. The name Canadian comes from the Canadian River, a nearby tributary of the Arkansas River. Though Canadian-Hemphill County has a population of fewer than 11,000 people, it has a lot to offer incoming businesses, including available land, incentives and access to workforce training programs. 

“Simply put, Texas is open for business,” says Shane Spencer, executive director at the Canadian Hemphill County Economic Development Corporation. “Its lower tax rates and lack of personal income tax make Texas great for employers.” And that includes smaller communities, like Canadian-Hemphill County. “Texas consistently has a growing economy,” Spencer says. “It is such a huge state, there is plenty of room to grow and also to reuse sites for new companies.”

 With connections to nearby highways such as US 60, US 83 and Highway 33, Canadian-Hemphill County is well connected to the rest of Texas and Oklahoma. “Texas has a huge interstate system and roads that are built to carry those across the country,” says Spencer. “The Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and Houston areas can support global sized companies with large amounts employees, and our other towns and cities can play host to smaller ones.”

But don’t let the size of those smaller cities and towns fool you. As Spencer notes, smaller infrastructure doesn’t equate to slower service. “Companies continue to take advantage of Texas’ business climate because of ease and speed of getting a company up and running. Also, infrastructure is always growing to allow expansion of businesses.” Ultimately, Spencer believes when it comes down to it, it’s the people of Texas that make doing business there so much better than anywhere else. “When your employees are happy, the company performs well. Companies have discovered that there are a lot of happy workers in Texas!”

Click here to listen to their GT Podcast.

Shamrock

The first Route 66-city in Texas upon eastern approach, Shamrock is home to not just the famous historic U-Drop Inn but to a vibrant, thriving West Texas community. Located at the intersections of I-40 (Route 66) and 83, the city of just under 2,000 residents is a well-connected cultural hub in the Panhandle, with landmarks, museums and a famous St. Patrick’s Day festival that is so big it’s considered the official St. Patrick’s Day Celebration of the State of Texas.

With more than 600 hotel rooms, the city is well equipped to handle tourism and visiting business guests. It is also a notable hunting community. Shamrock is just 90 minutes from Amarillo (along I-40), three hours to Lubbock and about two-and-a-half hours to Oklahoma City.

SOUTH TEXAS

Harlingen

Located in the Rio Grande Valley, along the border of Mexico, Harlingen, was recently named the No. 1 Least Expensive Urban Area in the U.S. by the Council for Community and Economic Research. Though not a household name, Harlingen has become somewhat of a “best kept secret,” with an economic climate that’s heating up as the city continues to attract more businesses thanks to its proximity to the border. But besides location, Harlingen offers incentives and workforce training programs from South Texas that make it a bargain for many incoming businesses.

“Texas is so appealing to many people because of our diversity in climate, culture, geography and much more,” says Raudel Garza, the manager and CEO of the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation. “Our workforce training partners such as Texas State Technical College, with campuses throughout the state, work locally to help solve labor requirements for companies. Local utility companies along with the Texas Department of Transportation invest in Texas to improve access to electricity, clean water, great highways, rail and so much more. Texas has everything a growing company needs to succeed, from a young trainable diverse workforce to easy access to markets.”

But, according to Garza, the reason businesses are flocking to Texas is that the state has more to offer than just business incentives. “Texans enjoy all the amenities of both big city life and country living,” he explains “Large companies know about our standard of living and they understand that Texas is drawing people in because of all they can do here—not only during work hours but also when one is at home or nearby at play. Companies want a reliable labor force, and Texas provides all the amenities such a labor force wants, thus keeping people happy and productive.”

Orange County

Located in the southeast corner of Texas, Orange County has a population of more than 81,000. Orange County’s major industries include petroleum, rice farming, shrimping, paper milling and recently, shipbreaking. The county provides workers with training programs and opportunities to help advance skills zero in on the specific industries that help the county thrive. Orange County is home to a workforce of 39,824 workers, with an unemployment rate of just 5.5 percent.

With its convenient border location, Orange County is close to navigable waterways, major railways, interstate highways and the Louisiana border. As for air travel, Orange County has access to 18 airports within 50 miles, including Orange County Airport and Lake Charles Regional Airport in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

SOUTHWEST TEXAS

Boerne-Kendall County

With a growing population that currently exceeds 46,000, Boerne-Kendall County is projected to expand by 24 percent over the next five years. The seventh fastest growing county in the U.S., and the third fastest growing in Texas, Boerne-Kendall County is already home to a vast multi-skilled, multi-cultural workforce with above average levels of education. Boerne-Kendall County workers have a strong background in biosciences, aerospace, cybersecurity, renewable energy, military and more.

The county is also conveniently located just 10 miles north of San Antonio, and it is central to numerous highways that lead to the Dallas and Austin metropolitan areas, as well as the Texas coast. Within 50 miles of Boerne-Kendall County, there are 25 colleges, universities and trade schools that provide a population of nearly 150,000 college students, who add new energy to the pool of approximately 387,000 workers that already call Boerne-Kendall County home.

WEST CENTRAL TEXAS

Leander

Ranked by Forbes magazine as No. 3 in America for the Best Small Cities for Families, Leander is a northwest suburb of Austin that was also named the Fastest Growing City in the Nation with a population of over 15,000 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Leander has all the benefits of doing business in Austin without the high overhead and traffic. Leander has its own commuter rail, a lower cost of living and an award-winning education system that consistently ranks high in Texas’ STAAR testing. The city is poised to welcome not just new businesses but a new workforce, too. With more than 14,000 new housing units expected to be built within the next decade, this dynamic community is prepared to welcome you and your business.

To learn more about doing business in Texas and how the Choose Texas team can aid in finding a new location for your expanding or relocating business, visit www.Choose-Texas.com to register your project or request information. 

small business

Three Reasons You Should Support Small Business

Small Business Saturday takes place this Saturday, November 30

Every year, when Small Business Saturday rolls around, Americans are reminded to ‘support small businesses.’ But the need for your support extends far beyond the holiday season.

American small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. In fact, they make up 99.9% of the economy and employ 47.5% of the workforce.

As a small business owner, I’ve built much of my career around serving the incredible community of entrepreneurs who drive innovation and economic progress, locally and nationwide. These men and women are the hidden heroes of our neighborhoods, often putting everything on the line to provide the services and staples that we rely on…not to mention, those which make our communities unique. It is they who pass the torch of the American dream to future generations — all of whom fight to defy conventional wisdom that only half will survive their first 5 years. Make no mistake about it: they depend on your support to hold onto that dream.

Here are three reasons you should support small business, and go out of your way to contribute to Small Business Saturday every day.

Small Business Owners Drive New Jobs

It’s no secret that small businesses create new jobs, fuel economic growth, and contribute to lowering unemployment rates. Even in today’s globalized world, America’s 30.2 million small businesses still make up 99.9% of all businesses in this country, and employ 58.9 million people.

Check out ‘The Best Small Places For Business And Careers’ in Forbes, to see where our city ranks. None of us should be surprised that we have an incredible workforce; we are well below the national unemployment rate; and that most of our 16+ population is in the civilian labor force. There’s no reason not to keep this momentum going and drive more business and more jobs to our area.

Small Businesses Strengthen Communities

It’s not the megastores that give our communities vibrancy; but rather, the mom-and-pop coffee shop that serves a great cup of morning joe, the family-owned pastry shop that’s been a local staple for decades, and the go-to-guy auto mechanic that give our communities personality, and a spot on the map.

Small Business Saturday is a community-centric day, where we have the opportunity to rally around our local small companies that make our lives a little bit better. So long as the community connection created by small businesses remains strong year-round, the benefits of strengthened communities will too.

Small Businesses Empower the Next Generation

Almost all of us got our start at a small business, whether it was helping out the family, as a cashier at the local movie theatre, waiting tables, working in the local bank, or even babysitting! We learned the basic skills and requirements of the workforce: showing up on time, working hard, being accountable, and leading others (and being led). It is still incumbent upon small businesses to perform the vital role of training the next generation and offering them mentorship opportunities and ways to learn professionalism.

 Things have changed a little since my first days as a neighborhood lawn mower in my hometown. Still, today, I scout for great small businesses everywhere I go, which was why I came here. I have found that small-business owners here understand best what it takes to make an area a real community. To me and many others, that’s an important public contribution and one I hope to never live without.

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Vincent Ney is the Founder and President of Expansion Capital Group, a business dedicated to serving American small businesses by providing access to capital and other resources, so they can grow and achieve their definition of success. Since its inception, ECG has connected over 12,000 small businesses nationwide to approximately $350 million in capital.

Worried about trade wars’ impact on your supply chain? Here are three ways to manage risks.

Companies live in a world now where a tweet about tariffs and trade wars can rattle markets, prompt uncertainty, and question whether supply chains and global operations are positioned to handle the speed, unpredictability, and interconnectedness of the global economy.  The prevalence and threat of trade wars generate pervasive uncertainty across the globe- carrying wide-reaching implications for overall global growth. Increased cost of goods sold from upstream suppliers are squeezing margins and forcing global supply chains to adapt and react mid-stream. Despite a robust US economy, and general stability across global markets, the escalating trade war is increasing prices and making raw materials harder to obtain – threatening the positive trajectory of domestic and international economic activity.

How is this playing out in real time? Let’s look at an example: An automaker may have its engine manufactured in Germany, its transmission in Mexico and its GPS from South Korea with final assembly in the US. Tariffs could force automakers to move production, reducing economies of scale and increasing prices for the end consumer. Processing the resulting number of variables, scenarios, and decision matrices brought on by the trade war is a daunting challenge, to say the least.

Despite these marketplace, competitor and regulatory challenges, digital technologies, such as data analysis, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) provides companies with the resources and insights to manage risk and anticipate events. Today’s leading supply chains run on data, monitoring for risk and opportunity, and blend human and digital strategies to make decisions in real time. This is called the cognitive supply chain. It is interconnected, self-learning, predictive, adaptive and intelligent, and it can help leaders react faster to risks outside of their control. As such, here are three approaches that can help leaders manage, anticipate, and address supply chain disruptions.

Leveraging predictive analytics

Data has always been at the center of the supply chain and helps leaders make decisions. With internet of things and the growing number of connected devices, organizations can be more proactive in how they use data to enable insights.

The expanse of datasets, and increasing ease to obtain them, allows proactive organizations to leverage data to help drive their decision structure. The resulting variety of perspectives creates an opportunity to align against broader company goals. For example, how does the planned production schedule of a Swiss supplier affect my organization’s market position in Asia this holiday season? What are the potential risks, and how can they be mitigated? Data availability opens the door to these solutions. Enablers from digital technology provide:

-Digital linkage – integrated sales, production and delivery processes which have seamless flow of information.

-Control tower –visibility of all processes across the internal and external supply chain.

-Centralized collaborative e-hub – a connected ecosystem where all partners interact seamlessly with improved flow of information.

-Integrated lean logistics – applying lean principles to eliminate waste, errors and defects, minimizes lead-time and materials impacted by tariffs.

-Virtual logistics – enable on the fly deployment decisions with new logistics models.

Creating the digital twin

Today’s supply chains have growing complexities with an international network of suppliers and service markets. Efforts to integrate with external partners has led to complicated systems and processes, overwhelming supply chain leaders with data and metrics. Add in the variability of demand, and a supply chain is pushed back on its heels, reacting to demand variability. One uniquely positioned solution is called a “digital twin”.

A digital twin is a model of the supply chain. The foundation is a transparent supply chain strategy, comprised of rules on how to absorb and refine costs, or pass through to customers downstream. A digital twin uses the multi-tier supply chain data to rely upon predictive outcomes and sensory response. Uncertainties such as pending tariffs can be run through “what if” scenarios to understand the service, cost, and risk implications of changes, decisions and unexpected market conditions.

These examples are not intended to be definitive outcomes; alternatively, they allow internal and external supply chain groups the opportunity to setup a plan of action which mitigates service risk while optimizing the collective cost. Organizations must learn the discipline of using “what if” scenarios for their analysis and guide the implementation of both short term and long-term strategies and events.

For example, what is the correct level of holiday inventory investment that should be imported into the United States from China, given the potential tariff increase in the coming months? Which alternatives provide lower risk? Successful organizations will use their digital twin to move up the supplier tiers of a supply chain, and anticipate disruption, and arrange alternative routes and suppliers.

Consider managed services

Continuous investment in technology and talent with the skill and knowledge to use it can be expensive. The process engineering required to maximize ROI, along with the associating change management inevitably strains an organization’s resources. As a result, many organizations have found relief in managed services of their supply chains. It enables companies to focus on their core competencies of products and services, while contracting out the outcome: the best customer service at the optimal cost.

The consolidation of supply chain expertise into a vendor eases the necessary people, process, and technology investment. It allows organizations to shed the strain of daily variability, while maintaining the ability to make decisions and focus on the long term growth of the company. With the increasing pressure on tariffs, organizations will look to these partners to leverage their digital tools and technologies to limit the downstream effect across the supply chain.

Creating a cognitive supply chain is essential for answering the threat trade wars present. International supply chains will continue to become more expensive to maintain and manage. Businesses that are successful in meeting these complexities and adopting digital capabilities will be best equipped for the uncertainty that lies ahead.

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Mike Landry is the supply chain service line leader at Genpact, a global professional services focused on delivering digital transformation.

world trade

Simon Paris, Chair of the World Trade Board & CEO of Finastra, Provides a Snapshot of this year’s World Trade Symposium

Protecting world trade from the current vicious cycle of trade tensions makes it imperative that those in a position to effect change – public and private sectors – work together; quickly and cohesively. Chairman of the World Trade Board and CEO of Finastra, Simon Paris, discusses three ways in which committed organizations can bring about a new pro-trade paradigm, even against the backdrop of today’s protectionist narrative, to lift people out of poverty globally and enable long-term growth and prosperity for all.

Across the globe, protectionist rhetoric and policy initiatives have become increasingly normalized. Tensions and tariffs continue to escalate with the World Trade Organization estimating that $339.5bn1 in trade is now at risk from import restrictions – the second highest level ever recorded. Amidst this trend, we as business leaders, policy makers, and engaged thinkers must deepen our commitment to free and open trade benefiting communities and workers.

The path to open trade and ensuing economic growth is under shadow. The global economic uncertainty2 risk index hit an all-time high this year. Ongoing friction between the United States and China has not only caused a tangible 12% drop in US imports from China, but triggered aftershocks across other Asian economies as a result of closely integrated supply chains3. Japan and Korea have made headlines with their own trade war that risks their trade relationship worth about $85 billion a year4 and the future economic relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union amidst Brexit is uncertain.

In response free traders should commit to three acts of solidarity, with the aim of reversing – or as an absolute minimum, reducing – the pervasive change that continues to threaten trade as we know it.

Three commitments that will drive change

Firstly, we must be persistent in our reinforcement of the pro-trade narrative; uniting to protect and promote open trade as the unequivocal foundation for global prosperity and economic inclusion. Secondly, we must continue to investigate ways in which we can reduce the SME funding gap, currently estimated at $1.5 trillion5, which is precluding both innovation and financial independence on a global scale. It is imperative that we seek out new ways to free up finance or neutralize the perceived risk of lending to small firms. At a time where the least developed countries represent less than 1% of world exports6, we must find solutions that unlock the latent value within SMEs to stimulate competition, innovation and economic growth, and reduce the disparity of wealth in a sustainable way.

Finally, we must examine how open technology can act as the enabler for inclusive, sustainable trade. As global supply chains become increasingly complex, our goal should not be measured on a binary figure of turnover or profit, but on the ethical and sustainable impact of our technological innovation; our technological social responsibility (TSR). How can we use technology, collectively, to ascertain the provenance of materials, improve the health and wellbeing of workers in remote locations, reduce the cause and effects on environment pollution of long-distance transportation or minimize the impact of waste and disposal? How can we use open finance technologies – and by this, I include open systems, open software, open APIs, open standards and open partner networks – to transform supply chains and encourage the formulation of more relevant and inclusive trade models, in support of ethical trade?

Protecting against threats, known and unknown

A global marketplace helps ensure a sustainable model of financial inclusion that protects future generations against wealth disparity and isolation. I believe that it is only through a powerful combination of forward-thinking policies, collaborative mindsets and funding, underpinned by open finance technology, that we can deliver the change so desperately required, that promotes equality and opportunity, and reverses the trend of poverty and protectionism. It is time to find solutions to today’s threats to open trade and together protect against further polarization and the unseen threats of tomorrow.

Simon Paris will be opening the third World Trade Symposium, held in the Grand Hyatt, New York on 6-7 November. The event brings together policy-makers, trade finance luminaries and thought leaders to openly collaborate and effect change. Register Today!


1. https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news19_e/trdev_22jul19_e.htm

2. http://policyuncertainty.com/

3. https://www.oecd.org/newsroom/international-trade-statistics-trends-in-first-quarter-2019.htm

4. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/28/business/japan-south-korea-trade.html

5. https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/spra_e/spra241_e.htm

6. https://www.wto.org/english/res_e/statis_e/wts2019_e/wts2019_e.pdf

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Simon takes responsibility for Finastra’s strategic direction and growth. His leadership steers the company as it realizes its open platform vision, encouraging industry-wide collaboration to spark innovation and transform the next generation of financial services.

A firm believer in the principles of doing well by doing good, Simon chairs the World Trade Board and is passionate about how technology and open trade can drive financial inclusion and improve people’s lives.

An inspiring and trusted Fintech thought leader, Simon speaks regularly at large-scale events including the annual World Trade Symposium, Paris FinTech Forum and The Milken Asia Summit. He is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, with refreshing and candid views on equality in the workplace. He was also named in Bank Innovation’s ‘Innovators to Watch’ list for 2018.

Simon joined Finastra (formerly Misys) as President in 2015, was appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer in 2017 and became Chief Executive Officer in June 2018. He brings more than 20 years of sales, management and global leadership expertise to the company, having previously held the role of President, Industry Cloud, at SAP. Prior to that he was a senior consultant with McKinsey & Company.

He holds a degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the INSEAD Business School in France and a Bachelor’s degree in Business & European languages from the European Business School.

brazilian

New Challenges for Brazilian Markets

Usually, when we talk about Latin America one of the first markets that come to mind is Brazil.

Brazil is experiencing a unique moment never experienced before in the local economy: the lowest level of interest rate and, therefore, a large demand from investors for assets that could generate a considerable performance, in the period.

Historically, the Brazilians Investor Profile has been strongly related to a conservative shape, once the Selic rate – the country’s basic interest rate – has constantly been at comfortable levels for those people who invest in conservative products, such as Savings and Certificates of Deposit, for example. Nonetheless, this perspective has been changing since the end of 2016 with the consecutive action from the ‘Comitê de Política Monetária’ (known as COPOM – very similar to the US FOMC) in reducing the interest rate, and proportionately seeking to promote the local economy. In addition, this domestic reduction is being quite influenced by the US Federal Reserve process of cutting rates.

It is possible to observe the interest yield curve below:

For this reason, financial institutions and brokerage firms are working hard on clients ‘financial education and portfolio reformulation, in order to adapt their clients’ investment portfolio to this new stage of Brazilian Market. Most analysts and advisors are aligned and agree with the Central Bank’s official reports, betting on new interest rate cuts for 2019 and, as a result, it benefits other types of asset classes, such as the Brazilian Stock Market.

Regarding that, the Ibovespa (Índice da Bolsa de Valores de São Paulo), the main indicator of the average performance from the Brazilian stock market, at the beginning of 2019 was quoted at approximately 91,000 points and until the last day of September it had an evolution of around 15% reaching its 103,600 points, with a standard deviation of, approximately, 20%. The Index has now reached record levels. Typically, with the movement of diminishing interest rates, as any other economy, there is a natural increase in demand for this type of assets, which takes a favorable and positive aspect of the segment this year, specifically given the Pension Reform approvals and lower projections for the IPCA (Índice de Preços ao Consumidor Amplo) – Brazilian official inflation index.

The latest statistic released showed 2.89% in the 12 months through September, according to IBGE – Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (Brazilian government statistics agency). The Central Bank’s official year-end goal for 2019 remains 4.25%, and due to this fall in inflation expectations most economists consent to another 50 basis point cut in the Selic rate at the end of this month – precisely, the next reunion will happen in 10/29/2019 and 10/30/2019.

Essentially, for the local investor, there are several alternatives to access this market, such as Equities Funds, ETFs or Active Mutual Funds. Furthermore, the whole market is gradually seeing an increase in fundraising this type of product, this is very clear if we look through the development of new asset management firms, for instance. Consequently, the biggest challenge for the investor is to adapt themselves to this relatively new type of culture in diversifying the portfolio with risky and volatile products.

professionals

5 Ways Professionals Can Succeed As New Entrepreneurs

It’s been a common occurrence in recent years: Company downsizing or restructuring has left skilled professionals looking for a job. Or, feeling constrained, they jump to a better growth opportunity.

But, with the era of lifetime jobs at a single firm or company long gone, many doctors, dentists, lawyers and other professionals also are opting to work for themselves, becoming entrepreneurs and launching their own start-ups.

Some who already started small practices have expanded into several locations. As dentists and business partners Dr. Seth Newman and Dr. Efstathios Giannoutsos can attest, the learning curve of running and growing a business in multiple offices — while still practicing their profession — can be challenging but also rewarding.

“It was never my plan to run a practice, or even co-run one,” says Giannoutsos,  (www.asktheorthos.com), an orthodontist and co-author, with Newman of Giving It To You Straight: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Orthodontics But Were Afraid To Ask. “But then the financial crisis of 2008 happened, and a lot of the opportunities that had been available before were now gone.

“But we were able to flip those circumstances on their heads and use them to our advantage.”

“The biggest challenge initially was finding clients,” Newman says. “But we learned to use different resources and educate ourselves in the business side as we did in our chosen career.”  

Newman and Giannoutsos offer five tips for professionals transitioning to running their own business:

Be passionate. Entrepreneurs tend to be extremely passionate about their work. They need to incorporate the same passion for running a business. “Think about how running your own business could transform your career, send it soaring,” Newman says. “That kind of spirit energizes you and all those around you.”

Be bothered by inefficiency. Entrepreneurs don’t have a high tolerance for inefficiency, and the bonus is they don’t have corporate red tape to cut through. “You can fix problems that come up quickly because of your expertise and the freedom of not running into typical corporate obstacles,” Giannoutsos says. “If you or your business partner are mired in work processes that are too slow, analyze the inefficiencies and consider the places you could implement solutions.”

Don’t be afraid to take on more risk. One thing that sets many entrepreneurs apart from the average professional is their appetite for risk. “A business owner knows the risk-reward possibilities, and by taking well-calculated shots, bigger rewards can come,” Newman says. “Set aside time to strategize, and listen to the best-qualified people working for you to develop a precise plan.”

Brainstorm more. Constant innovation is crucial to a business’ long-term success, so entrepreneurs have to take time to let their minds be loose and creative. “Set aside time each week for brainstorming sessions with your staff — and remember to have fun doing it,” Giannoutsos says.

Don’t limit your dreams. “The most important aspect of the entrepreneurial spirit is being limitless – the sky’s the limit,” Newman says. “Many people are conditioned in the workforce to be realistic and practical, but dreaming big sets the mission for your company, and it’s why you became a business owner.”

“It can be daunting at first, performing the myriad tasks of a business owner,” Giannoutsos says, “but if you believe in what you do and those you’ve hired around you, it’s so worth the effort.”

Dr. Seth Newman (www.asktheorthos.com) is an orthodontist and co-author, with Dr. Steve Giannoutsos, of Giving It To You Straight: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Orthodontics But Were Afraid To Ask. He owns orthodontic practices in the New York City area. Dr. Newman completed his dental training at Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine, where he was a member of the National Dental Honor Society. He was a clinical instructor of the Invisalign system at the NYU School of Dentistry.

Dr. Efstathios Giannoutsos, or “Dr. G.” as he is commonly called, was born in Astoria, Queens, just outside of New York City. He graduated from St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens, with high honors and a BS in Biology.  He is also the co-author with  Dr. Seth Newman of Giving It To You Straight: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Orthodontics But Were Afraid to Ask (AskTheOrthos.com). He completed his dental training at NYU, where he graduated with a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. He was also accepted into NYU’s highly competitive orthodontic residency program. During that time, he also discovered a passion for treating children and adults with facial deformities. Coinciding his passion, his research thesis to attain specialty certification involved children with cleft deformities.

business listings

The Importance of Having Local Business Listings

In this day and age, it is clear that having a strong online presence is very important for any company. Business owners know that having a functional, informative, and visually attractive website will draw in more customers. The same goes for a strong social media presence. We’re sure that you’re marketing your business on Instagram, Facebook, and so on. However, what people sometimes don’t think about are local business listings sites. In this article, we’ll explain the importance of having local listings and why utilizing such listings would be beneficial for your business.

You’re Easier to Find if Your Name is in the Phonebook

Basically, think about local business listings as a sort of a digital-era phonebook. Nowadays, whenever people need information on a certain kind of business, they’ll most likely look for it online. Local business listings can introduce them to a variety of companies offering the kind of service or product they need, based on the potential customers’ area. For example, people looking for moving companies in New York would find the company Dumbo Moving and Storage Brooklyn, as well as important information such as the company’s working hours, address, link to the company’s website, and its phone number. As a lot of queries also specify the location of the kind of business they’re interested in, having your business on these area-based listings can help you a great deal.

Posting important information on local business listings is not hard to do and it doesn’t take much time. It is an easy way to improve your digital marketing. So, why waste the opportunity to efficiently attract new customers? There’s even a good chance that interested parties will give you a call right away. People often use the internet on their smartphones, so it’s very easy and convenient for them to call you as soon as they find your number on local business listings. And if you receive a phone call, then you’re already halfway to securing new customers.

SEO Benefits

Apart from this obvious advantage that local business listings provide, there are more “under the hood” benefits as well. Namely, they can increase your search engine visibility and overall brand visibility. If you’re paying attention to the keywords you use, then you’ll be pleased to learn that local business listings do the same. They’ll most likely use the same or similar keywords you’ve used, thus generally improving your SEO. These sites usually have significant domain authority. Even if your potential customers don’t find your website while using the specific keyword, they’re likely to find your profile on local business listings.

What’s more, the benefits to your search engine visibility don’t stop there. The people working for the major search engine companies like to compare their data with data found on such sites. If your information is there and it is consistent, search engines will deem your business to be more reliable and trustworthy. And if it’s not, they might think that you’re running a shady business, causing your SEO to degrade.

Local Business Listings Can Improve Your Reputation

The importance of local business listings in terms of your reputation isn’t only related to SEO. Potential customers themselves might think that it’s strange that your company isn’t listed there. They might consider it a red flag, warning them to take their business elsewhere. Even if they’ve already heard of your company, finding another one on local business listings might make them call that company and end their search right there and then.

On the other hand, local business listings also offer user reviews. If your company is not only listed there, with all the up-to-date, relevant information, but it also has a lot of good reviews, that’s often all it takes to secure a customer. While we know that many company owners often fear reviews, if you don’t have faith that you’ll receive good user reviews (in other words, if you’re not sure that you’re providing a quality service and/or products), then you have more pressing matters at hands than thinking about the importance of local business listings. However, if you are good at what you do, then you can expect the positive reviews on such sites to help you significantly. You can even post the same reviews on social media or on your website.

When it comes to your reputation, it is also worth noting that some business listings will include your information without your knowledge. This information could be incorrect. What’s more, your competitors can also use these listings to harm your company (this doesn’t happen often, but it is possible). Setting up your profile by yourself on local business listings will prevent that from happening.

Five Most Important Business Listings

So, utilizing local business listings is easy and can generally only help your business. The only thing to consider is which business listings to use. We’ve prepared a list of the five most important ones to help you out:

-Google My Business

-Yelp for Business Owners

-Yahoo Business Listing

-Bing Places for Business

-Facebook Business

There’s not too much difference between these five listings. They are all free and easy to use and setup. However, Yahoo Business Listing will require you to pay 9.95$ every month to allow you to include pictures, which could be important depending on the type of business you run. They also offer the option of paying 29.99$ every month. Choosing this option is recommended because Yahoo’s employees will then include your business in about 40 other local business listings as well, thus saving you some time.

Facebook Business is also highly recommended because many people are using Facebook to find businesses in their area, even if you are mostly doing business with baby boomers. Unlike other business listings, this one not only makes it easy for potential customers to call you, but it also makes it easy for them to message you, if that’s their preferred way of doing business.

Of course, these five sites are just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t stop there and try to include your business in as many local business listings as possible (even if you’ve paid for Yahoo Business’ 29.99$ option). Taking the time to do so means that you’ll have less time to dedicate to running your business, but in the long run – it’s definitely worth it.

logistics professionals

5 Tips for Supply Chain & Logistics Professionals

How can supply chain and logistics professionals continue to survive in the business now and in the future?

As technology continues to evolve, the business environment is also changing. To stay in business, supply chain and logistics professionals need to adapt fast, invent, and solve problems in order to survive in today’s competitive business world.

In this article, uk.superiorpapers.com shares five tips to help supply chain and logistics professionals survive in business now and in the days to come.

Let’s get started.

 

Get a Serious Partner

It is said that no man is an island and that no man can stand alone. Similarly, in business, a company that works with a serious logistics partner will have high odds of withstanding lows and taking up opportunities when they arise.

According to Nerdywriters, these days’ customer needs are not easy to predict, and companies need to find a great logistics partner who can offer solutions to customer problems.

Working with a great logistics partner, companies will be able to get guidance when joining new global markets, predict any business dangers before they can hurt the business, and find solutions to problems before they get out of hands.

It is, therefore, important for businesses to find logistics partners who are friendly, guarantee the quality of service, easy to partner with, and can provide extensive solutions to problems.

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

With the competitiveness in the business environment, it’s not enough to take on challenges as they occur. As a supply chain and logistics professional, you need to understand that change must happen before it is triggered.

As you will see in velvetjobs, changes in the logistics have happened and are going to be happening every day even in the future. Therefore, companies need a strong partner who can guarantee sustainability today and in the future no matter what challenges occur.

As James Longman, the author of academized reviews and papers owl reviews puts it, working collaboratively and innovatively can help companies develop new and more efficient approaches to lower costs and add value. In addition, a strong partner will help their clients to stay ready for future changes in the sector.

Create a Strong Relationship with Colleagues outside Your Industry

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in supplier quality, logistics, procurement or whichever field you are; supply chain is aimed at making a product accessible by customers.

For that reason, creating and sustaining a strong personal and professional relationship with colleagues in other sectors such as manufacturing, product development, finance, and engineering will boost the effectiveness of a supply chain team.

Find time to build a close relationship even if it means having short discussions once a week.

Mentor Others

As aussiessay.com puts it no one can master a skill by learning and reading but you can become an expert by teaching others. Identify your exceptional supply chain, knowledge, abilities, and tools you have that can be helpful to others in your team and start mentoring them. 

They say if you want to go fast, go alone if you want to go far, go together. Unless you want to go alone, the best thing to raise your team’s collective performance is to train and encourage them in something you know.

Don’t Stop Reading

Learning never stops, it stops when we die and who knows there could be learning after death but this is something that cannot be established. However, if you want to continue to survive in business today and days to come, you must read and expand your knowledge.

According to best paper writing services when it comes to reading, don’t limit yourself to books only, there are plenty of audio materials out there you can listen to even when on the go. Just make sure you read every day even if just for 10 minutes.

Get Certified

Attaining an industry certification is also a great way to invest in your professional education. Getting certified does not only open you to greater opportunities in the workplace but also helps to drive value to companies.

Besides being industry certified, keep learning. Explore every possible avenue that puts you and your company up for success.

Write down Your Goals and Revisit Them Every time

Supply chain and logistics professionals at Assignment helper, a firm that offers assignment help to students argue that to make sure you are working toward achieving your goals, write them and keep them in a visible place (your desk is the best place to write down your goals so that you can see them every time you are working).

Life is busy and for supply chain professionals, it can’t be better and accomplishing sizable strategic initiatives that aren’t laid down can be tricky.

Set goals for the first 60 to 90 days of the year and revisit them regularly. This way, you will not wander when working on achieving your goals and in the end, you will celebrate the results.

Final Thoughts

There you have it. And the list is not comprehensive. These are just a few of the effective tips for supply chain and logistics professionals. Since the industry is extremely dynamic and evolving fast, every key player needs to stay updated on the latest trends and development.

foreign trade zones

FOREIGN TRADE ZONES, PORTS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FORCES CREATE AMERICAN SUCCESS STORIES

The U.S. Foreign Trade Zones Board’s Annual Report to Congress is bullish on FTZs, finding that after several years of decline in zone activity largely related to a downturn in the petroleum sector, strong increases in all major categories were logged in 2017, the last year for which data are available.

Foreign trade zones provide economic incentives to companies importing or exporting international goods. Duty-free treatment is accorded to items that are re-exported, and duty payment is deferred on items sold in the U.S. market, thus offsetting customs advantages available to overseas producers who compete with producers on American soil.

Businesses can use FTZ space a variety of ways, including warehousing and distribution of non-ferrous metals for sale on the London Metal Exchange, warehousing spirits and alcohol and storing vehicles before they are sold in the domestic marketplace.

The value of merchandise received at America’s FTZs increased by 9.6 percent in 2017, to $669.2 billion, according to the report that was presented to Congress this past December. Merchandise received at warehouse/distribution operations increased by 15.5 percent, to $259.1 billion, while that received at production operations increased by 6.2 percent, to $410.1 billion.

Foreign-status inputs to FTZs increased by 11.2 percent, to $250.6 billion, and the value of FTZ imports accounted for 10.6 percent of all goods imported into the U.S. in 2017. The majority of merchandise admitted to FTZs (63 percent) is of domestic origin. The value of exports from America’s FTZs increased by 15.1 percent in 2017, to $87.1 billion, which represents 5.6 percent of the value of all goods exported from the U.S. Exports from FTZ production facilities accounted for two-thirds of all exports from FTZs. Employment at America’s 191 active FTZs increased by approximately 7 percent in 2017, to a new record of 450,000 workers at 3,200 firms that used FTZs during the year.

“The FTZ Board’s latest report confirms that the program continues to be a vital component of America’s trade policy,” says Erik O. Autor, president of the National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones (NAFTZ), which boasts 650+ members. “The competitive advantage for companies operating in an FTZ has enabled them to boost exports and employment, continuing their strong recovery from the recession.”

The Trade Partnership, a Washington, D.C.-based trade research firm, in February provided case studies on the success of FTZs as part of an NAFTZ-commissioned report. “This study measures, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the economic effects of FTZs on the communities in which the zones operate, which we refer to as Zone Economic Communities (ZECs),” states The Trade Partnership introduction to the research, which examined the economic impacts of FTZs in community employment, wages and value added. 

The study concluded the economic impacts of the U.S. FTZ program on communities in which FTZs are located are positive,” The Trade Partnership President Laura M. Baughman said during NAFTZ’s annual Legislative Summit in Washington on Feb. 12. “Many companies have the option to operate inside or outside the United States,” she noted. “They will make that decision based in part on the relative costs of doing business in the United States or abroad. To the extent the Foreign-Trade Zones program can provide positive financial reasons for a U.S. location, it should merit the support of U.S. policymakers.”

“We are very pleased that The Trade Partnership’s analysis has concluded that the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones program has demonstrable positive economic impacts on the communities in which FTZs are located,” says NAFTZ Board of Directors Chairwoman Eva Tomlinson, who is also director of FTZ Solutions for UPS Trade Management Services Inc. “These real community impacts are in addition to the value that U.S. firms realize from using the FTZ program.” 

The survey included some individual success stories that follow:

FTZ-38 

(Spartanburg, South Carolina; Inland Port Greer; Port of Charleston) 

BMW broke ground on its first American automobile factory in 1992 in Greer, South Carolina, and the first cars rolled off the line in 1994. Before the German automaker’s arrival, Spartanburg was a ghost town of former textile plants and roughly 60,000 lost manufacturing jobs. BMW’s investment in South Carolina changed all that. Today, BMW employs more than 10,000 workers and produces around 400,000 vehicles annually, more than 70 percent for export to 140 global markets (with China the largest foreign destination, followed by Germany). Inputs imported by BMW duty-free under the FTZ program supplement inputs from 235 U.S. suppliers, 40 of whom are in South Carolina.

“As a consequence of this investment, BMW directly and indirectly adds $6.3 billion annually to South Carolina’s economy and leads to the employment of 36,285 people there,” says the German automaker. “The overall footprint in the U.S. is even larger, with value added by BMW of $15.77 billion and employment of 120,855. In each case, this includes both the direct contribution of BMW and the contribution via purchases of BMW and its employees that would not exist if BMW were not established in the United States.”

Earlier this year, BMW Manufacturing, citing Commerce Department data, said it led the U.S. in automotive exports by value for the fifth consecutive year. More than $8.4 billion in cars and SUVs were assembled in Spartanburg before passing through the Port of Charleston in 2018.

FTZ-154

(Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Greater Baton Rouge Port; Port of South Louisiana)

ExxonMobil is a leading example of a company making use of FTZs to import crude petroleum and process it into downstream products, mainly for domestic use in the U.S. but also for export. The oil company has three FTZ subzones in operation, two in Texas (Baytown and Beaumont) and one in Louisiana, where within FTZ-154, ExxonMobil operates a main refinery complex, a petrochemical plant, a tank farm storage facility and a plastics plant in East Baton Rouge Parish, a lubricants plant and a tank farm in West Baton Rouge Parish and the Sorrento Salt Dome in Ascension Parish. The company employs more than 6,600 employees and contractors in the Baton Rouge area, with payroll totaling $491 million.

Despite the exemptions from state and local ad valorem taxes made possible by the FTZ, ExxonMobil’s activities in the Baton Rouge generate millions in annual state and local tax revenue, from property taxes ($33.2 million in East Baton Rouge alone in 2015), to direct sales taxes ($26.3 million in East Baton Rouge), to other state and local taxes (more than $100 million, after credits and rebates). According to a 2017 study, one out of every eight jobs in the Baton Rouge area can be traced back to ExxonMobil. 

FTZ-26

(Newnan, Georgia; Georgia Ports Authority; Port of Savannah)

Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corp. of America (YMMC), which has corporate offices in Cypress, California, and Kennesaw and Marietta, Georgia, decided in 2011 to take advantage of more efficient production that would result from a centralized location, including one that benefits from the efficiencies offered by the FTZprogram. Thus began the transfer of nearly all YMMC mid- and large-engine ATV production from overseas facilities to Newnan, Georgia. Yamaha directly employs about 3,400 workers in the U.S., but more than 2,000 of them are in Georgia alone, with approximately 1,600 within FTZ-26.

Newnan’s factories spend over $170 million annually at more than 100 U.S. parts suppliers, 30 percent of which are located in Georgia. By 2018, Yamaha had invested more than $354 million in its Newnan facility, with that spending rippling through the local community and beyond. Meanwhile, savings YMMC reaps within FTZ-26 have been fed back into the local community, including Yamaha-sponsored environmental projects for schools, youth character-building initiatives, scholarships for high school students and support for local teachers. 

FTZ-86

(Tacoma, Washington; Northwest Seaport Alliance; Port of Tacoma)

Helly Hansen imports from Asia specialty water-resistant cold weather apparel and footwear for professionals working in extreme environments. The Helly Hansen brand had a strong presence in Canada when its Norwegian owners looked to expand beyond the Great White North to all of North America. Savings afforded by the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone program tipped the scales in favor of making Auburn, Washington, which is within the Port of Seattle’s FTZ-5, the location for Helly Hansen’s U.S. warehouse in 2011.

Four years later, growth spurred the need to open a bigger warehouse and a location was found within the Port of Tacoma’s FTZ-86, where all operations consolidated. About 55 percent of Helly Hansen’s imports into Tacoma are re-exported to Canada, and the company pays no duties on those products. It does pay U.S. import duties on products destined for the U.S. market, when they exit the FTZ for U.S. sale, but while products wait at the warehouse, the company saves money from deferred duty (the value of tighter cash flow and reduced interest costs) and reduced processing fees. The Canadian Tire Corp. purchased Helly Hansen in 2018, and the company now employs 103 people in Tacoma, up from about 50 in Auburn in 2011. Indirectly, the company supports jobs at the port processing 400-500 containers a year, containers that would otherwise go directly to Canada. 

FTZ-18 and FTZ-45

(San Jose, California; Port of Oakland; Portland, Oregon; Port of Portland)

Fremont, California-based Lam Research Corp., a global supplier of innovative wafer fabrication equipment and services to semiconductor manufacturers around the world, creates, assembles, repairs and distributes equipment within San Jose’s FTZ-18 (since 2010) and Portland’s FTZ-45 (since 2016). Around 6,000 employees work in zone-based activities. Components and materials sourced from abroad are admitted free of duty under the FTZ program; those duties would otherwise range from zero to 10.7 percent. Lam estimates that program benefit alone saves the company a significant amount of its import costs. But the FTZ has also helped Lam manage fluctuations in supply chain and international trade. The company has poured zone savings into research and development throughout the U.S.

FTZ-25

(Oakland Park, Florida; Port Everglades)

ProdecoTech, which makes electric bicycles that retail for $1,000 to $5,000 each, was founded in 2008. It would not now employ about 100 people in Oakland Park, Florida, were it not for the FTZ program. ProdecoTech bikes used to be finished abroad, but that changed in 2015, when the company began taking components imported from China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere in the U.S. to assemble the rides in Oakland Park.

Thank the benefits from being within FTZ-25, which allowed ProdecoTech to avoid paying import duties that can range up to 10 percent. Keeping final assembly stateside as opposed to overseas is now saving the company about 4 percent per bike. And that has allowed ProdecoTech to sell goods 30 percent below what its competition charges. Because American workers are doing the assembly, ProdecoTech has a tighter rein on quality control. 

FTZ-272

(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Port of Philadelphia)

Piramal Critical Care Inc. was a U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturer that could no longer compete paying tariffs on imported inputs while its foreign competitors shipped finished products here duty free. That put a target on the jobs of 95 employees in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where they manufactured and distributed inhalation anesthetics from chemicals and other materials sourced from abroad, primarily India.

After toying with eliminating 70 high-skilled positions and moving production abroad, Piramal launched a Hail Mary by applying for FTZ benefits in 2012. The application was approved, and it has saved Piramal hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in duties. Not only was the company able to stay in Bethlehem, it went on to add even more jobs, modernize its facility and increase capacity three-fold. Piramal today employs about 120 workers and exports to more than 100 countries. 

FTZ-176

(Rockford, Illinois; Port of Rockford)

UniCarriers Americas, which was previously known as Nissan Forklift Corp., sought approval to manufacture rider-type forklift trucks in Rockford, Illinois’ FTZ-176 in 2005. Imported components, which accounted for about 48 percent of the finished forklift truck’s value, were charged duties as high as 9 percent. After contending FTZ benefits would improve UniCarriers’ competitiveness in export markets, the company won approval in 2006. That has gone on to save UniCarriers about $2 million a year, according to the company, which adds employee time spent on handling and filing documents daily for U.S. Customs and Border Protection was eliminated. That’s a win-win when you consider a booming U.S. economy and e-commerce have created strong demand for forklift trucks.

Fortunately, UniCarriers has redirected some duty savings into adding space and employees as well as funding training for a workforce operating ever more sophisticated new equipment. Whereas many manufacturers are replacing workers with robots, UniCarriers is retraining and redeploying employees to work and train alongside automation, according to CEO and President James J. Radous III. He cites figures that show UniCarriers has increased its automation capabilities by 50 percent while doubling its number of employees from about 300 to 600 over the past five years. 

The preceding were the success stories cited in The Trade Partnership report, but there are also other foreign trade zone success stories out there that include the following:

FTZ-84

(Houston, Texas; Port Houston)

FTZ-84 was on a roll in 2017, adding 13 companies, which is no surprise when you consider the Houston region’s rapid growth. As a result, more large importers and exporters are taking the advantage of the financial benefits of using FTZ-84.

One company reaping such benefits is Houston-based Dixie Cullen Interests, which specializes in steel, machinery and other industrial materials. “We are excited about the opportunity that it has opened up for us,” says Dixie Cullen’s President Catherine James. “And we know that Port Houston is where we need to be.” That’s especially true when you consider Port Houston, which owns or operates eight terminals, has committed to invest $1 billion-plus during the next several years in expansion and improvement projects. About two-thirds of all containers in the U.S. Gulf move through Houston, whose port is one of the world’s largest.

FTZ-87

(Lake Charles, Louisiana; Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance; Port of Lake Charles)

The five parish area bordered by Southeast Texas and the Gulf of Mexico is anchored by Sulphur and Lake Charles, where companies from the U.S., Europe, Africa and Asia have staked claims in industrial growth expansion totaling $97 billion.

An extensive rail network makes its way through Southwest Louisiana with Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern servicing the area. Interstates 10 and 210 service a combined 100,000 motorists a day and complete routes between America’s Pacific and Atlantic Coast. And Lake Charles Regional Airport is served by United Airlines, whose hub is in Houston, and American Airlines with its Dallas/Fort Worth hub. But the region has more going for it than simply location, according to George Swift, CEO and president of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “Our people and companies are making history,” he says. “Each day that passes, companies from across the globe are calling to learn about development and expansion possibilities while others call about the tens of thousands of temporary and permanent jobs that are going to be generated by industrial expansion.”

FTZ-74

(Baltimore, Maryland; Baltimore Development Corp.; Port of Baltimore)

FTZ-74 is one of the most active and largest zones in the United States, which is fitting considering the Port of Baltimore is among America’s 10 busiest ports. With merchandise such as cars, paper and steel, total FTZ-74 international revenue rose from $44 million in 2016 to more than $396 million in 2017, a whopping 800 percent increase! The total value of shipments through Baltimore’s FTZ was more than $19.9 billion in ’17. That only figures to rise as Maryland recently approved a contract to complete the fill-in of a wet basin at the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore’s Fairfield Marine Terminal.

That project will create more land to help handle the port’s surging auto and roll on/roll off (farm and construction machinery) cargo. Among those as pleased as a Baltimore Bang cocktail over this development is Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. “The Port of Baltimore is the number one auto port in the nation and continues to break cargo records every month,” Hogan says. “Our administration is committed to furthering this growth and strongly supports our great port and its thousands of hardworking men and women handling the millions of tons of cargo coming in throughout the year.”

FTZ-196

(Fort Worth, Texas; AllianceTexas; Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport)

Known as the Alliance Foreign-Trade Zone, FTZ-196 in North Fort Worth sees more action than any other general purpose FTZ in the country. AllianceTexas is a 17,000-acre, master-planned community anchored by the world’s first industrial airport. Also within its boundaries are the Alliance Global Logistics Hub, Circle T Ranch, Heritage, Alliance Town Center, Saratoga and Monterra Village projects. A total of 265 companies that have created more than 30,000 jobs. Among them are Cinram, Hyundai, LEGO, Motorola, GENCO ATC, Callaway Golf and Alliance Operating Services.

Since its inception, AllianceTexas has generated a $40.65 billion economic impact for the North Texas region. Steve Boecking, vice president of Hillwood Properties, the Perot company that developed the Alliance brand, says of the $4 billion in annual FTZ-196 imports: “Regional efforts to strengthen international relationships and to build new global trade partnerships have also resulted in an increased volume of foreign goods being shipped through North Texas.” 

THE POWER OF POSITIVITY

The National Association of Foreign Trade Zones study found the following positive economic measures when examining each of 251 Zone Economic Communities (ZECs) to determine the impact of foreign trade zones:

-Employment, wages and value-added increased in the broader zone community following the establishment of an FTZ. Those gains are the greatest in the early years for employment and wages, and throughout the period for value added. This increased economic activity is also evident once a decision is made to form an FTZ.

-The establishment of an FTZ caused a positive increase in employment growth in the surrounding ZEC (up 0.2 percentage points), wage growth (up 0.4 percentage points), and value-added growth (up 0.3 percentage points), typically eight years and later, after establishment of the FTZ. The impacts begin sooner, in years six and later, for wages and value added in small- and medium sized ZECs.

-Company access to FTZ benefits had a substantial ripple effects through the companies’ supply chains, which are typically located nearby. 

Downloaded the complete report at www.naftz.org.

geopolitical

How to Successfully Conduct Global Business During a Time of Geopolitical Instability

The way organizations approach global commerce is undergoing a radical change. Geopolitical instability is slowing growth in a volatile global economy as organizations are forced to adapt their tactics, making complex decisions that increase operational costs and, if mishandled, make them less competitive in an unforgiving business landscape. So, what can organizations do to navigate this ‘new normal’? As an association whose members deal with small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at the local level on a regular basis, we at the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) released our second annual WTCA Trade and Investment Report: Navigating Uncertainty, in partnership with FP Analytics. The report focuses on how cities around the world are optimizing trade and investment opportunities despite challenges, both economic and political, and how SMEs benefit from these strategies

The report shows that the majority (83%) of business leaders interviewed believe that global economic uncertainty will stay at its current elevated levels (30%) or get worse (53%) in the coming year. However, 69% of business leaders polled are cautiously optimistic about the coming year, as the report shows that resilient cities—defined as those that outperform their countries during economic downturns—have Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as a percentage of GDP twice as high as non-resilient cities.

Despite their differences in location and culture, resilient cities have a set of commonalities that allow trade and investment to thrive. These characteristics include diversified economies and strong service sectors. In fact, resilient cities on average saw the share of services in GDP grow by 3.3% over the last five years; more than double the pace of non-resilient cities. Their populations are largely educated, with many inhabitants having college or other advanced degrees, as well as diverse, with higher rates of foreign citizens. On average, foreign citizens represent 11.6% of resilient cities’ populations, which is one-quarter higher than that of non-resilient cities. These cities also tend to have strong transportation infrastructures, including both airports and public transit options. 

Building Resilience 

The report also identified specific tactics used by resilient cities that organizations, including business and civic leaders looking to improve their own city’s resilience, can mirror. 

In resilient cities, key stakeholders are prioritizing direct diplomacy, meeting face-to-face to navigate obstacles created by regional or national governments. By cutting through political red tape, organizations have been able to create new meaningful relationships with each other and strengthen existing ties. The ability to engage in a direct dialogue creates efficient business interactions that are beneficial to all parties. For example, World Trade Center (WTC) Arkansas has organized multiple diplomatic trade missions with Mexico. As a result, its exports to Mexico are growing 3.6 times faster than to any other country. 

Cities are also proactively building programs to attract and retain skilled foreign citizens. For example, Twente, located in the eastern Netherlands, is evolving from a region focused on machine-building and textiles to one with an economy driven by high-tech systems. To retain young, skilled workers from across the globe, WTC Twente created an Expat Center that offers a range of services, including Dutch language courses, visas and work permits, housing, and support for families, as well as social events with the goal of enticing technically-skilled foreign workers and their families to integrate into the community for the long term.

Turning Obstacles into Opportunity

Economic turmoil affects everyone, but not always in the same way. For some, the current geopolitical reality presents opportunity. City leaders are adapting to these geopolitical changes and establishing themselves as cost-efficient and low-risk trade and investment partners to capitalize on the situation. FDI is being redirected towards these agile cities who have recognized the advantages created by this global uncertainty, and supply chains are shifting and realigning based on new benefits. Competition for FDI is escalating (global FDI slowed 27% over the last year, according to the OECD) and the private and public sectors need to work hand-in-hand to create attractive fiscal and tax environments, and institute policies that will attract business. 

Cities are also increasingly investing in both high-tech industries, and SMEs to ensure they are able to attract FDI at a time when this investment comes at a premium. These high-tech industries will lead to future growth and play a central role in the next industrial revolution. Additionally, partnerships with major research institutions are being used to create new technology and modernize existing tech. For instance, in Delaware, private agriculture technology or “ag-tech” companies have partnered with universities to pioneer better technology in seeding, pest management, antibiotic reduction, and biopharmaceuticals. 

SMEs are well suited to adapt quickly in the face of change and evolving economic realities, which enables them to capitalize on changing conditions. However, their size can prevent them from competing on a global scale. To combat this, programs that help SMEs move forward given limited resources can be critical in encouraging and nurturing growth opportunities. As an example, WTC Toronto created the Trade Accelerator Program (TAP), a six-week program that connects SMEs with export and business experts to train them on developing export plans fit for the global market. This program has now been adopted by several other WTC members in Canada, including Vancouver and Winnipeg. 

At the moment the global economy is relatively unpredictable, and increasing risks for businesses have made sound strategic business planning more difficult at a time when it is absolutely vital. Knowledge, preparedness, and agility are key traits cities and businesses need to acquire in order to achieve success and growth. Despite the prevailing conditions, with a strategic approach and tactics proven to increase resilience, organizations can optimize current trade and investment opportunities and set themselves up for success now and in the future.

To review the full 2019 WTCA Trade and Investment Report: Navigating Uncertainty, including commentary from WTCA Members, visit www.WTCAReports.org