Heart of it all

As Ohio companies are
demonstrating every day,
our economy has evolved in a way that has made
it important to think big, to
strategically foster commercial
partnerships and to seize
growth opportunities on a
transnational scale.

Much of this is attributable to
simple demographics. Consider
for a moment the following: 95
percent of the world’s population lives outside the U.S. Two-thirds of the world’s purchasing
power lies outside our borders.
To capitalize on these markets,
we must extend our reach
beyond Ohio’s conventional

This is not to suggest that the
debate regarding global trade
trends does not exist. Rising
transportation costs and labor
and environmental concerns
remain formidable policy challenges as we move forward.

But all signs point to the fact
that the globalization of our
economy will continue to accelerate. According to the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce,
exports have been growing two
to three times faster than the
economy as a whole. Such
trends suggest a very real need
to build robust partnerships,
both regionally and around the
world, to get and stay ahead.

In this area, Ohio has some
outstanding news to report. In
2007, Ohio exports totaled more
than $42 billion and reached 220
countries and territories. We are
the only state in the U.S. in
which exports have increased
each year for the past 10 years.
As such, Ohio is recognized as
an exporting leader.

Ohio’s export gains are geographically widespread. Total
shipments to Europe were up
16 percent compared to 2006, and shipments to Mexico,
Ohio’s second largest market,
grew by 11 percent to $3 billion. Exports to our No. 1
export market, Canada, were
up 6.42 percent.

Our Asian export market also
is booming: Japan is currently
Ohio’s third-largest export market, and last year, China became
Ohio’s fourth-largest market
with exports increasing nearly
40 percent to $1.3 billion.
Because of an enormous increase in exports to Brazil, Ohio
exports to South America grew
by an impressive 86 percent.

This growth means more jobs:
In 2006, Ohio had 317,700 jobs
linked to manufactured exports.

In addition to facilitating
export growth, we are aggressively promoting Ohio as a premier business location for international investment. Last year,
there were 40 international
investments in our state. Approximately 600 foreign-based corporations from 28 countries are
operating in Ohio with more
than 1,000 facilities, employing
between 180,000 to 200,000 people. By partnering with local
and regional economic development organizations, we are
working to create and retain
good jobs through increased
foreign investment.

Ohio is uniquely positioned to
attract many leading global
companies given our state’s
track record of attracting new
investments of all kinds. In both
2006 and 2007, Ohio won the
Governor’s Cup from Site
Selection Magazine for attracting the most capital investments
for new and expanded facilities.
Ohio also was recently awarded
a Silver Shovel Award from Area Development Magazine
for its 2007 accomplishments in
attracting new business opportunities and supporting company expansions that create jobs.

Gov. Strickland and I are
strategically focused on how our
administration can further support business growth at home
and extend our international
reach. We are tracking new
trends and fostering new relationships with the highly valued
collaboration of both our public
and private sector partners.

The Ohio Department of
Development’s Global Markets
Division is tasked with helping
Ohio exporters reach new markets and in attracting new international investments into Ohio.
And it is doing so through
export counseling and finance
programs, market research,
business missions, and trade

We recently launched three
new trade offices in Sydney,
Australia, Beijing, China, and
New Delhi, India, bringing
Ohio’s total number of international offices to 14. This past
April, we held our first Ohio
Global Summit to discuss
export strategies for the critical
markets of India, China and
Brazil. The summit will become
an annual event.

International commerce
remains a defining attribute of
today’s globalized world. We
should be proud that Ohio goods
and services are in demand
abroad and that we are attracting new foreign investment here
at home. This supports and creates good jobs and new economic growth leading to an
increasingly competitive and
prosperous Ohio.

LEE FISHER is lieutenant governor of the state of Ohio and director of the Ohio Department of
Development, where he leads the state’s efforts to retain, attract and create jobs and grow Ohio’s economy. For more information on the state of Ohio and its economic drivers, visit www.ohio.gov.