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Planning Indy’s International Future at World Trade Day

Posted by ehayden on May 18, 2016

May 24 is World Trade Day – on Tuesday, the Indy Chamber will highlight the role global trade and investment plays in our economy.  Join us at the Marten House Hotel and Lilly Conference Center on Indy’s northwest side for a day-long program packed with information for local employers seeking international customers and capital.  (There’s still time to register here!)

We’re excited to announce that the agenda will include presentations by Mark Muro, Senior Fellow and Metropolitan Policy Director at The Brookings Institution, and Phil Karsting, Administrator of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.  They’ll be joined by local and national experts talking global challenges and opportunities in advanced manufacturing, cyber-security, workforce development and how world monetary policy can impact your bottom line. 

World Trade Day will feature practical advice and insights to help our business community become more globally-engaged – building on a strong foundation:  Indy ranks among the top 25 out of the top 100 metros in total exports, export-related jobs and employment in foreign-owned companies.  Roughly 100,000 local jobs are supported by international commerce.

National Recognition for International Progress

The Indy Chamber is already earning kudos for efforts to maintain these impressive rankings, by helping area companies become successful exporters.  Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded the Indy Chamber the President’s “E” Award for Export Service at a ceremony in Washington, DC. for activities like World Trade Day and our Export Bootcamps.

The President’s “E” Award is the highest recognition any organization can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports - but we have little time for congratulations or complacency:  The Indy region has too much untapped global potential that needs to be unleashed.

Planning a Global Future

Gil Latz, IUPUI’s Associate Vice Chancellor for International Affairs, recently wrote in Inside Indiana Business that we shouldn’t be “focus(ed) on the 100,000 jobs that already exist because of global trade and investment, but rather how we create the next 100,000 opportunities…”

Dr. Latz is part of an Indy Chamber steering committee that’s helping create this plan.  Two years ago, the region was selected to participate in the Global Cities Exchange, a joint project of The Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase that provides research and technical support to metropolitan export and foreign direct investment plans.  Key findings from Indy’s global strategy will be previewed at World Trade Day, before its formal release later this summer.

Two emerging themes of the plan deserve particular focus on World Trade Day:

How mid-market companies represent Indy’s biggest global opportunity:

Regional exports are driven by a handful of our biggest employers; among mid-market business, Indy has barely scratched the surface; Brookings research has identified more than 1,200 mid-sized companies in export-oriented industries that aren’t yet selling overseas.

While major corporations have the resources and expertise to manage operations and sales in hundreds of countries, the barriers to global trade can seem more daunting to smaller firms.  The presentations on World Trade Day – avoiding cyber-threats, integrating foreign nationals into the workforce, and navigating international manufacturing supply chains – are applicable to companies of all sizes.

How globalization creates a smarter economy:

The kick-off panel discussion, “Leading the Innovation-Driven Global Economy,” features Muro and Betsy McCaw, President of the 16 Tech Community Corporation.  16 Tech is an important development with the potential to put Indy on the map as a crossroads of global innovation.

Foreign companies and exporters in the U.S. are four times more concentrated in what researchers at Brookings call advanced industries – cutting-edge areas like aerospace, pharmaceuticals, precision manufacturing, technology and energy.

Indy already has a solid foundation in several advanced industry sectors – with notable opportunities in the life sciences and world health – and 16 Tech offers a unique opportunity to leverage research and corporate assets into higher-skill, higher-value global growth. 

Learn more on Tuesday, May 24 – register here and join us for World Trade Day 2016.