We have had an action-packed summer at the RTRP, and I wanted to take a moment to personally bring you up to speed on some of the international groups and events we have been involved with recently.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and trade play a significant role in economic development and contribute greatly to our economy. Just a few months ago, we hosted 16 member-countries of the European Union and discussed the significance of the partnership between North Carolina and the EU. Below are a few statistics on why that relationship is so important:
- North Carolina exports over $13B in goods annually to Europe.
- European owned companies have invested more than $68B in North Carolina.
- 70,000 NC jobs have been created because of EU trade.
- 137,000 NC jobs have been created because of EU investment.
- FYI: European visitors spent $908M on tourism in N.C. last year.
Johnston County alone is a perfect example of the benefit of FDI. The Spanish pharmaceutical company, Grifols, employs over 1800 NC citizens. Their next-door neighbor, Danish pharmaceutical company, Novo-Nordisk, employs 1200 NC citizens. Both of these companies have invested billions of dollars into their facilities and continue to invest. As our region becomes more well-known internationally, we will have even greater opportunities to attract additional international companies like Cellectis, the French pharmaceutical manufacturer that announced in March a $69 million investment in Raleigh.
Our region can easily compete on the world stage as a destination for foreign-owned companies. Just last week, Wake County Economic Development hosted Marek Gootman at their annual State of Foreign Direct Investment luncheon. Marek is a fellow and director of strategic partnerships and global initiatives at the Brookings Institution. During his presentation, Marek discussed the drivers that help fuel global economic competitiveness.
During Marek’s presentation it was clear that our region has all the ingredients for success, we just have to do a better job getting our message out. However, I do believe strongly that the work we are doing as a region alongside our regional and local partners is beginning to make a difference.
Below is a list of international activity we have been engaged in over the last few months:
CBfez Visit (July 21-22)
Earlier this week we hosted CBfez, a Korean local government IT-biotechnology industry hub who visited our region to learn more about our life science sector. This organization is also tasked with assisting Korean companies who are looking to expand into Global Markets. The visit included visits with The NC Biotech Center, CED, The Research Triangle Foundation, Biolabs NC, and Falcon Therapeutics. During their visit we once again heard the familiar line, “our companies know about Boston and San Francisco, but no one knows about this region.” This was a great opportunity to expose the group to our ecosystem and the highlight of the visit came at NC State, where they signed an MOU with the Golden Leaf Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC). This MOU will open the door for future collaboration opportunities as well as business attraction for our region.
NASSCOM Visit (July 16-17)
Last week we co-hosted with EDPNC the largest Tech Association from India. NASSCOM represents more than 2200 IT companies in India, and brought with them over 40 Indian companies looking for opportunities in the U.S. We worked closely with our member counties to roll out the red carpet for their visit which included a lunch at the Durham Bulls, briefing at SAS, reception at NC State Hunt Library, and breakfast with Governor Cooper at the NC Executive Mansion. We are excited about our new partnership with NASSCOM, and the future opportunities the relationship could provide.
A few months ago, the RTRP partnered with EDPNC to create an India-North Carolina Advisory Board. This advisory board is comprised of a prominent group of Indian business leaders who have volunteered their time and resources to assist in business recruitment of Indian companies. Just recently the INCA Board assisted Lee County with an Indian project and we are hopeful this committee’s role will help us land the project.
Gemdale (July 2-3)
In early July, we hosted Gemdale USA, a $20B global real estate and investment firm headquartered in Pasadena, CA. Gemdale USA also has offices in San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, and New York, and is a subsidiary of Gemdale Corporation, one of China’s largest real estate developers. Gemdale is interested in possibly investing in incubator wet-lab space and met with the NC Biotech Center, the Research Triangle Foundation, and Duke Medical School.