In the economic development field, we're well aware that the rise of the global economy has "changed the game" permanently. In other words, the competition has risen from a regional or statewide level to a worldwide level, and we have to be prepared to keep pace. Because international business is so essential to our regional economic diversity, we've made it a key focus of our Partnership 2020
strategy for economic growth.
Foreign investment and trade bring jobs and dollars to our state, resulting in prosperity for our citizens. Tennessee has become the 15th largest exporter in the nation, and products made in our state -- from cars to guitars -- are used by people all around the world.
For example, over the years, Tennessee has enjoyed a particularly strong trade relationship with our neighbors in Canada. Canada is Tennessee’s top export market, accounting for nearly 164,000 jobs and $1.22 billion per year in bilateral trade. Canada is also Tennessee’s fourth-largest foreign direct investment source; 80 Canadian-owned companies have a presence in our state, which accounts for nearly 16,000 jobs.
Of course, the strong economic ties between Tennessee and Canada are just one example of our state's increasingly important role as a player in the world economy. The bottom line is that this type of trade relationship will continue to be a major component of the Chamber's economic-development strategies in the future.