SEATTLE, Jan. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, civic and business leaders from across the Greater Seattle region unveiled a plan to attract new foreign investment and grow the region's exports. The Greater Seattle Region Global Trade & Investment Plan outlines an ambitious multi-agency, intergovernmental, and public-private partnership process to implement strategies to bring the region to the forefront of international trade and investment.
The development of the Greater Seattle Region Global Trade & Investment Plan was led by the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle and the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County, but developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington State Department of Commerce, Puget Sound Regional Council, Associate Development Organizations/Economic Development Councils from Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish Counties, as well as multiple local governments, industry trade associations, educational institutions, and other leaders of industry. Recognizing the critical need for collaboration, this diverse group set out to unite around a single goal: for the Greater Seattle region to be the most globally competitive region in the United States. The plan focuses on attracting foreign direct investment and increasing the number and capacity of companies exporting across the Greater Seattle region over the next five years. Economic development partners will share resources, create common tracking systems, share information, and engage local and foreign companies to identify and leverage opportunities to increase economic opportunities across the region.
"We have a unique opportunity to capitalize on the increasingly globalized world economy and position Washington as a global hub of international trade and investment," said Washington State Governor Jay Inslee.
"The Seattle metro area continues its ascent as a global export hub, reporting $57 billion in merchandise exports in 2013, representing more than 50 percent of the state's nearly $82 billion in total goods exports," said Stefan M. Selig, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, U.S. Department of Commerce. "Expanding trade and attracting more foreign direct investment are sound economic strategies that bring good-paying jobs to the region. This plan, with its emphasis on collaboration, global investment, and innovation opportunities, is a true game-changer for the Greater Seattle region."
The Plan calls for the region to better leverage international assets and relationships, and, in doing so, transform greater Seattle into the most globally competitive region in the United States. Key to the Plan are strategies to increase foreign direct investment in advanced industries, including manufacturing (which includes aerospace), clean tech, information and communications technology and life sciences. The five-year plan is designed to increase the number of foreign-own firms in the area and employment opportunities in the region. It would increase by 25 percent the number of firms from other nations that choose to locate operations in the region.
"The Greater Seattle Region Global Trade & Investment Plan demonstrates the unified response our region is taking to international competition for jobs and investment," said Suzanne Dale Estey, president and CEO of the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County (EDC). "With unprecedented coordination among local, regional and statewide players, the Greater Seattle region will be recognized as the most globally competitive in the United States. This Plan is just the beginning, and will result in increased prosperity."
"We have a goal—to transform the region into the business gateway to the world," said Sam Kaplan, president, Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle. "The plan outlines how we get there. The Trade Development Alliance is proud to be an active partner in the creation and implementation of this plan."
"The Kitsap Economic Development Alliance is focused on attracting investment and pursuing jobs in Kitsap County through retention, expansion and recruitment of primary businesses," said John Powers, executive director, Kitsap Economic Development Alliance. "Kitsap County is home to global brands and foreign-owned companies and the Greater Seattle Global Trade & Investment Plan will help us craft a strategy around attracting more foreign investment. We are proud to have been a part of the Plan and look forward to advancing our regional partnerships to carry this plan through implementation."
"Tacoma-Pierce County is a heavily trade-driven community that depends on innovative and long-term planning to ensure continued prosperity," said Bruce Kendall, president & CEO, Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County. "With this plan, the region takes action to secure our global trade prominence. The Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County is proud to have worked with our partners and economic development professionals in the creation of this project, and we look forward to helping implement its strategies to attract foreign direct investment and grow our export and import potential."
"FDI has and will continue to be a vital element of Snohomish County's success in attracting and growing our aerospace and advanced manufacturing clusters in Snohomish County," said Troy McClelland, president and CEO, Economic Alliance Snohomish County. "The FDI regional trade and investment plan will be an important part of assuring the region and the state continue to attract the investment necessary to grow our regions global advance technology share."
The Plan is the culmination of a nine-month pilot of the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. The Greater Seattle region was one of six U.S. metropolitan regions selected to participate in the pilot program to create and implement regional strategies to secure and sustain foreign direct investment.
"After a competitive application process, Brookings selected the Greater Seattle region to participate in the Global Cities Initiative to help the region grow through increased trade and foreign direct investment. The result is this powerful multi-sector Global Trade and Investment plan. I'm pleased to announce that we will be continuing to work with the Greater Seattle region in 2015 to strengthen the region's existing export strategies and thus further position this region for economic growth and prosperity in today's globally competitive marketplace," said Amy Liu, co-director, Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program.
"With the growth taking place all over the world, foreign direct investment must be a critical part of our approach to economic development," said King County Executive Dow Constantine. "I pledge King County's support in the effort to brand our region, increase foreign direct investment, and build our global future."
The Plan outlines five strategies to accomplish the goal of Greater Seattle being the most globally competitive region in the country:
- Increased regional economic collaboration
- Convert export partners to investors in advanced industries
- Help small- and medium-sized enterprises access new capital and export markets
- Develop the potential investor pipeline: international students and tourists
- Leverage strong ties to China for increased investment
According to the Plan, long-term relationships with partners in China will facilitate increased export and foreign investment opportunities for regional companies. With the third largest container complex in North America, close proximity to major global markets, and a highly educated and capable workforce, the region is well suited to reach growing export markets overseas, like China. Regional businesses have the potential to reach new and existing markets and capitalize on global economic growth. Moreover, the region is rich in international assets and relationships that can serve as catalysts for new partnerships.
To help facilitate these relationships the Plan calls for the creation of ChinaSeattle. This new organization which is connected to and whose structure is being built by the Washington State China Relations Council and Trade Development Alliance, working with the Washington State Department of Commerce, City of Seattle and others, is aimed at attracting investment from and building new trade relationships with China.
"As the next step in our FDI Framework for Success, I am pleased to announce today that the state is partnering with the Trade Development Alliance and Washington State China Relations Council to establish a permanent presence for Washington State in China," Governor Inslee said.
"Increasing foreign investment and expanding international business opportunities must be a priority. As a region full of knowledge, innovation and a skilled workforce, Seattle has an opportunity to be the prime destination for investment capital from all over in the world," said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. "In particular, we have a unique opportunity to leverage our growing trade relationship with China and create a public-private partnership to nurture deeper relationships with businesses and institutions to grow jobs in our region. Let's seize this opportunity."
The Plan addresses opportunities to expand domestic exports while also developing opportunities to introduce new technology, manufacturing practices, global knowledge, and capital into the market. To achieve this, the Plan targets high impact industry clusters, where FORTUNE 100 companies are magnets for similar firms that fit into supply chains. Jobs created through foreign direct investment by international firms typically pay above industry averages, offering more jobs, new sources of capital, and high wages to the region.
"This Global Trade & Investment Plan strengthens our region's hand in the global economy and creates jobs here at home," said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. "By implementing the strategies in this Plan we will increase the number of local companies trading in foreign markets, attract more foreign investment to our cities and grow export capacity for those companies already engaged overseas. It benefits the entire State of Washington."
"This plan will help the Seattle region be deliberate in its pursuit of the kind of economic growth that our region deserves," said Steve Crown, vice president and deputy general counsel, Microsoft. "Everyone stands to benefit with the plan's focus on increasing opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses, entrepreneurs, youth, and many others in our community. Microsoft is pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with partners in the public and private sectors to support these important initiatives."
"We're delighted that Greater Seattle will be a part of this new network, the Global Cities Initiative's Exchange – it's exactly the kind of innovative planning that is needed to ensure our community's long-term economic success," said Curt Fraser, PNW Market Manager, JPMorgan Chase, "We have a long history of helping businesses connect to global markets, and now the Exchange brings additional resources to help our region's leaders design strategies to further create jobs and grow our economy through greater global engagement."
Today, JPMorgan Chase announced a grant of $150,000 to support the implementation of the Greater Seattle Region's Global Trade & Investment Plan and the region's participation in a new round of export planning. Initial funding will support the creation of a database of investment opportunities, production of investment/export workshops, better baseline data and analysis, development of collateral and data collection and analysis for the export planning program.
"JPMorgan Chase is proud to partner with the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle and Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County to expand exports, foreign investment, and skilled workforce and research endeavors," said Fraser.
The Global Trade & Investment Plan was released at the 43rd Annual Economic Forecast Conference, the largest economic forecast event in the Northwest. The Economic Forecast Conference is hosted by the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County, the only public-private partnership focused on business retention, expansion, and recruitment across King County and its 39 cities.
SOURCE Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County; Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle