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  • Hong Kong Economic and Trade Officials Visit Nashville

    by Lori Odom | Nov 14, 2014
    Steve Barclay, director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO), made his first trip to Nashville this week. Based in New York, he is responsible for promoting and strengthening the business, trade and cultural ties between Hong Kong and 31 eastern states of the United States.

    Barclay was appointed in August of this year. He has served in a wide variety of posts within the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, with policy responsibilities including consumer protection, intellectual property, housing and environmental protection. Most recently, Barclay served as director of the HKETO in Sydney, Australia.

    Along with meeting Chamber leadership, Barclay’s visit to Nashville included attending the Governor’s Conference on Economic and Community Development and speaking engagements at Vanderbilt and Lipscomb.

    Hong Kong-owned companies account for approximately 200 jobs in the Nashville MSA and a state trade relationship valued at more than $292 million.


    L-R: Gene Hanratty of the Hong Kong Information Center Atlanta and Steve Barclay

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  • Tennessee Tops the Nation for 2013 Foreign Direct Investment Job Commitments

    by Lori Odom | Nov 04, 2014
    In 2013, Tennessee received more job commitments from foreign-owned companies than any other state in the nation. Take a minute and let that sink in. Nearly 40 percent of new jobs committed to Tennessee last year came from companies with foreign ownership – the same statistic applying to announced jobs in the Nashville area for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. To put some examples behind that stat, remember this short list of investments from 2013: South Korean-owned Hankook Tire Co., Swiss-owned UBS and Japanese-owned Calsonic Kansei North America accounted for 4,000 total job commitments and more than $946 million in capital investment.

     
    The ability to generate international investment is a sign of vitality and confidence in a region’s performance. Workforce, location, transportation, regulatory environment, incentive programs, and strong supplier and customer networks are all essential components of attracting global investment. Starting with Ireland’s The Trane Company in the 1960s, to Japan’s Toshiba in the 1970s, Bridgestone and Nissan in the 1980s, U.K’s Willis in the 1990s and on through the investments of recent years, the Nashville region has successfully proven to be a strong draw for foreign investors.

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  • Foreign Direct Investment Continues to Impact Middle Tennessee's Economy

    by Blewett McInteer | Oct 02, 2014
    At yesterday's Annual Meeting, we were excited to share the results of an outstanding year for our economic development efforts. Foreign direct investment played a major role in our region's strong economic performance in the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Twenty-four percent of our 121 corporate relocations and expansions were from foreign-owned companies, creating 7,723 new jobs and accounting for 40 percent of the total job creation in the region. More than 265 foreign-owned firm locations employ more than 37,000 people in Middle Tennessee.

    The Nashville area exported $8.7 billion in 2013, a 35 percent increase over 2012. With strong trade relationships with countries such as Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Japan, Tennessee remains the 14th-ranked U.S. state for exports -- especially impressive for a state with no coastline.

    Foreign-owned relocation highlights:
    Beretta – 300 new jobs, Italy
    Hankook Tire – 1,800 new jobs, Korea
    Schwan Cosmetics USA – 250 new jobs, Germany

    Foreign-owned expansion highlights:
    ABC Group Fuel Systems Inc. – 200 new jobs, Canada
    Electrolux – 466 new jobs, Sweden
    UBS – 1,000 new jobs, Switzerland
    Unipres – 880 new jobs, Japan


    This graphic from our 2013-2014 Annual Report shows the significant impact foreign direct investment has on Middle Tennessee's ...
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  • Trade Delegation Strengthens Tennessee-Japan Relationships

    by Blewett McInteer | Sep 25, 2014
    Nashville adds Kamakura, Japan, as newest Sister City

    Earlier this month, Tennessee Economic and Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty led a state delegation of 40 representatives to the 37th Annual Joint Meeting of the Southeast-U.S./Japan and Japan-U.S. Southeast Associations. The meeting helped strengthen the economic relationships between Japan and the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Japan is the largest foreign trading partner for the majority of these states, including Tennessee.

    The Nashville area is home to many Japanese businesses, including Bridgestone Americas Inc. and Nissan. Japanese companies invest more in Tennessee than any other state except California.

    As part of the visit to Japan, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Kamakura Mayor Takashi Matsuo signed a Sister Cities treaty to officially join Nashville and Kamakura as partners and formally solidify the two cities’ longstanding relationship.

    Kamakura, located about 30 miles southwest of Tokyo, is Nashville’s eighth international partner city. Nashville has long enjoyed strong ties with Kamakura and the country of Japan due to trade relationships and the Japanese Consulate, which was established in Nashville in 2008. A Nashville delegation made its first visit to Kamakura in 2009.



    The signing of the Sister Cities treaty, ...
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  • Nashville Is a Leading Metro For Export Growth

    by Blewett McInteer | Sep 04, 2014

    A new report from the federal International Trade Administration ranks Nashville fifth in the nation for export growth. In 2013, $8.7 billion worth of goods were exported from the Nashville metro area, a 35.9 percent increase over 2012's total of $6.4 billion.

    With $32.3 billion in exports in 2013, Tennessee held its spot as the 14th-ranked U.S. state for exports -- especially impressive for a state with no coastline. 

    Nashville's largest export market continues to be Canada, with $3.7 billion of goods shipped there in 2013. Our other top export markets are Mexico ($1.5 billion), China ($457.6 million) and the UK ($266.7 million). Top export sectors in the Nashville MSA are transportation equipment ($3.6 billion), computer and electronic products ($1.9 billion), machinery ($510.7 million), chemicals and electrical equipment ($475.3 million), and appliances and components ($379.7 million).

    International business is a crucial part of our overall economic development strategy. By increasing exports and attracting jobs and investment from other countries, our city, region and state will become more competitive in the global marketplace.

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  • Move Your Market with TNTrade

    by Blewett McInteer | Mar 27, 2014
    Yesterday’s International Business Council meeting focused on the importance of Tennessee small to mid-sized companies boosting exports through TNTrade, an export initiative of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

    Commissioner Bill Hagerty spoke on the advantages of exporting from Tennessee and Nashville, citing its logistical strengths, such as air and cargo, rail and water and the interstate system. Josh Helton, assistant commissioner for the state of Tennessee, discussed the two components of exporting: education and services.

    Both of these components can be learned from TNTrade, which promotes education and services to business owners to increase their exports and sales to foreign markets. With free resources, such as access to Nashville-based export development representatives as well as state trade representatives with offices in overseas markets, you can gain the tools to expand your market in:
    • China
    • the European Union (based in Germany)
    • Mexico
    • the United Kingdom
    Swiftwick co-founder and CEO Mark Cleveland, who also spoke at the meeting, used Tennessee Trade to propel his Brentwood-based sock business internationally.

    To learn more about TNTrade, click here.

    For more details on the free classes TNTrade offers, such as Export 101 Academy, watch the video below.

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  • Israeli Ambassador Urges Cooperation

    by Blewett McInteer | Mar 03, 2014
    A discussion led by Israel’s ambassador to the United States focused on the importance of Tennessee companies collaborating with Israeli businesses during last week’s International Business Council board meeting.

    Ambassador Ron Dermer recommended that businesses in Tennessee partner with companies in Israel, citing Facebook, Google and Microsoft, which have already made significant investments in Israel. However, Dermer mentioned that Israeli companies need access to different markets. Israel is poised to grow in the water innovation, energy, military technology and medical technology sectors. The ambassador also said that Israel is emerging as a cybersecurity powerhouse.

    Israel's Consulate General to the Southeast, Israel's Economic Mission to the U.S. Southern Region, and the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce jointly aim to create a Tennessee-Israel collaboration project in 2014. The goal is to develop and implement a multifaceted strategy for promoting bilateral economic and trade relations between the State of Tennessee and the State of Israel. The mission of a Tennessee-Israel collaboration would be to stimulate business and research partnerships between companies and universities in Tennessee and Israel as a way to generate economic development, jobs and investments for the benefit of all.

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  • Second Annual IBC Day on the Hill Strengthens Relationships

    by Blewett McInteer | Jan 29, 2014
    Thirteen business and government leaders from our International Business Council (IBC) gathered at the Tennessee Capitol yesterday for our second annual IBC Day on the Hill. Our delegation, including Japanese Consul General Motohiko Kato and Canadian Consul General Stephen Brereton, sought to create strategic relationships between key legislators and members of the international business community.

    In addition, the day’s purpose was to educate and inform elected officials about the positive impact international companies bring to the region and state, and the effect immigration laws have on these businesses. We also discussed the need for engineers and other skilled workers and the importance of education and programs in order to continue to see these companies grow and thrive in Tennessee.

    We met with nine legislators from across the state, including House and Senate leadership, to illustrate the economic impact of international business and foreign direct investments in our city and state, shown below:
    • More than 265 foreign-owned companies are located in Middle Tennessee, employing more than 37,000.
    • One in six Nashvillians is foreign-born; more than 100,000 foreign-born people live in Nashville.
    • Japanese companies invest more in Tennessee than any other U.S. state except California.
    • Nashville MSA exports totaled $6.4 billion in ...
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  • Atlanta Visit Lays Groundwork For Future Economic Growth

    by Blewett McInteer | Oct 18, 2013
    This week, I was part of a team representing Nashville on an outbound marketing trip to Atlanta. The Chamber’s Partnership 2020 hosts several inbound and outbound trips each year; the primary purpose is to build relationships that lay the groundwork for future business investment in Middle Tennessee.

    Four teams, consisting of Mayor Dean, Partnership 2020 investors, regional economic development partners and Chamber staff, met with a variety of Atlanta-based business leaders and site consultants during our two-day visit. My group's itinerary included meetings with representatives from the Italian Trade Commission, the German American Chamber of Commerce, the Consular Corps of Atlanta, and several consultants who work international business projects. We shared information about the Nashville region and all of the exciting things happening here, giving them a variety of reasons they should consider Nashville for their next business relocation or expansion project.

    The highlight of the visit was "A Night of Nashville Music," co-hosted with Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford, consul-general of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Award-winning Nashville-based songwriter Rivers Rutherford performed for nearly 80 key business leaders and consuls general.

    More than 70 foreign governments maintain consular offices and/or trade representation in Atlanta, so this trip was an excellent chance for ...
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  • Four Keys to Building an International Brand

    by Blewett McInteer | Sep 27, 2013
    Jack Daniel's is the best-known distilled spirit in America and the bestselling whiskey in the world, with more than 11 million cases sold around the world every year -- and it's all made in a small town in Tennessee.

    At yesterday's International Business Council luncheon, we learned from Ted Simmons and Jennifer Powell, two senior branding executives who have worked extensively with Jack Daniel's, about the international success of the Jack Daniel's brand, and how, in Simmons' words, it's "taking an old American idea to the four corners of the globe."

    According to Simmons and Powell, the worldwide Jack Daniel's brand is built on genuine photographs of the town of Lynchburg, the Jack Daniel's distillery and the people who work there. These images helped create a unique personality for the brand that sets it apart from any other type of alcoholic beverage.

    Simmons explained that this "essence of American authenticity" was key to helping solidify the brand both domestically and in international markets: "Jack Daniel’s is Tennessee. Tennessee is Jack Daniel’s .... [T]here was magic in that idea."

    Jack Daniel’s is currently priced $4 to $5 higher than its nearest competitor, Jim Beam. Even at that price differential, however, Jack ...
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