Lori Odom's Blog

RSS feed

  • What Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and Why Does it Matter?

    by Lori Odom | Mar 31, 2016
    Guest post by Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce


    As secretary of commerce, my job is to create the conditions for American businesses and workers to keep their competitive edge in the 21st-century economy.

    American businesses face a world that is more competitive than ever. With modern technology and communications and with greater ease of transportation, national boundaries no longer define the marketplace or limit the reach of workers, consumers or businesses. 

    In this global economy, American prosperity is directly tied to our ability to access new markets and reach customers beyond our borders. To ensure that more U.S. firms can sell to the 95 percent of consumers who live overseas, the Obama administration is committed to expanding access to some of the fastest-growing markets in the world through trade agreements. The newly signed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is critical to growing the American economy and supporting good-paying jobs at home.

    The TPP will enable U.S. businesses to compete on a level playing field by eliminating more than 18,000 tariffs on American-made products sold overseas, while defining the highest standards on labor, the environment and the digital economy ever to be included in a trade agreement. With this transformational trade agreement, we ...

    Go comment!
  • Magazine Lauds Chamber's International Business Efforts

    by Lori Odom | Feb 16, 2016
    With the Nashville MSA ranked fifth for growth and 10th for prosperity among the 100 largest U.S. metros over the last five years, our region's economy is on the rise, and growing stronger.

    At the Chamber, our economic development efforts focus on keeping Middle Tennessee nationally and internationally competitive as a place to do business. With 277 foreign-owned company locations employing nearly 49,000 people in the Nashville area, foreign direct investment and exports are integral to our work.

    This month, the Chamber was named one of the top economic development corporations in the nation by Global Trade magazine, a trade publication for international business professionals.

    "Nashville may receive more attention for its eponymous TV show and honky-tonk establishments, but Music City has emerged as a global leader in commerce," says the article. "The city, which is home to international brands Under Armour and Amazon, saw exports surge 10 percent, year-over-year, to a record $9.6 billion in 2014 -- a volume largely attributable to the efforts of the NACC. The chamber also helped 154 companies relocate or expand in Nashville last year, with nearly 28 percent of the new jobs created through foreign direct investment."

    Statistics tell a compelling story about ...
    Go comment!
  • Embark on an Adventure to Spain with the Chamber

    by Lori Odom | Feb 09, 2016

    The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce will be visiting Spain in 2016, and you're invited to join us!

    The stunning southern coast of Spain, known as the Costa del Sol, has a backdrop of spectacular mountain scenery and borders the Mediterranean Sea. Relax and enjoy the rich cultural heritage, fabulous beaches and charming villages while indulging in delicious food and experiencing the hospitality of the area.

    From a first-class hotel in the renowned resort town of Torremolinos, excursion options include Seville, Rondo, Granada, the Alhambra and a relaxing journey to Mijas, along with a visit to the famous Rock of Gibraltar.

    Through April 29, the special early-bird rate for this trip is $2,949 per person, double occupancy. Prices increase $100 per person after April 29. The nine-day, seven-night adventure is scheduled November 1-9, and the price includes airport transfers, hotel, meals, day trips and airfare from Nashville!

    Space is limited, so act fast. This trip is open to both current and future Nashville Area Chamber members. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to visit the Costa del Sol, experience another culture, make new friends and build lasting memories.

    For a detailed itinerary, click here. If you have questions, please contact ...

    Go comment!
    Category: General
  • U.S.-Cuba Relations - What Does the Future Hold?

    by Lori Odom | Jun 29, 2015

    A quien madruga, Dios lo ayuda.” -- The early bird catches the worm

    Nearly six months ago, President Obama initiated a plan by which Cuba and the U.S. would restore diplomatic relations. In April, leaders of the two nations met face-to-face for the first time since the countries severed ties in 1961. For those who hope to find business opportunities in Cuba, the changes can’t come soon enough.

    “The next and ultimately final step in allowing American business will be lifting the 53-year trade embargo, which would allow full and unfettered investment in Cuba,” said Christopher Peake of Peake Communication, a Chamber member who frequently travels to Cuba for business. “The president has relaxed restrictions on some imports, travel and telecommunications, so those three businesses are beginning to take shape.”

    The island nation of 11 million has guaranteed access to health care, a higher literacy rate and a lower infant mortality rate than the U.S. Adjustments to the trade embargo have allowed more U.S. agriculture and medical supplies to flow into Cuba with hopes that increased relations could prove favorable for trade between the U.S. and other Latin American countries.

    Exporting primarily food and agriculture products, the U.S. ...

    Go comment!
  • Partnership Between Israel and the American South: From Mere Acquaintances to Best Friends

    by Lori Odom | Jun 25, 2015
    Guest post by John Scannapieco, International Business Council board member and co-chair of Baker Donelson's global business team

    Israel is the "startup nation." The country’s strong entrepreneurial spirit and focus on innovation have led to its rise in the global economy and its predominance in the Middle East. The economic emergence of the American South shares similar attributes to Israel; these states are fast becoming the economic engine for the United States. As Israel and the American South continue to grow, businesses have been looking to form new partnerships and expand trade and investment opportunities between the two regions. These relationships could become invaluable, especially in the event of a crisis.

    So where do Israeli companies usually look? They look in Boston, New York and Silicon Valley. Businesses in the American South routinely look to Europe and Asia. Based on my work with global companies, I know how often Israeli companies overlook the American South and, similarly, how U.S. companies often overlook Israel. Yet, each state in the South tells a unique story of economic growth and global opportunity that often goes unnoticed in international circles, but fits Israel’s growth trajectory well. For example, Georgia is home to many global ...
    Go comment!
  • Promoting the Tennessee-Japan Trade Relationship

    by Lori Odom | Jun 11, 2015

    Japan is Middle Tennessee’s largest foreign investor nation, with approximately 65 companies employing more than 15,000 people. The Chamber's International Business Council supports this economic pillar through our connection with the Japan-America Society of Tennessee (JAST), a nonprofit that promotes the prosperous bilateral relationship between Tennessee and Japan.

    In his role as JAST board chair, Chamber President & CEO Ralph Schulz will be playing a large role in JAST’s Annual Membership Weekend, to be held Friday and Saturday, June 26-27, in Nashville at Gaylord Springs Golf Links.

    Friday features a special evening exclusively for JAST members and their invited guests. The occasion serves as the Society's official welcome to newly appointed Consul General of Japan The Honorable Masami Kinefuchi and his wife, who arrived in Nashville in late April.

    Saturday morning is highlighted by the 2015 Invitational Golf Classic, a half-day of a friendly, yet competitive, 18 holes on one of Middle Tennessee's finest golf courses. Prepare for a great day of networking and prizes!

    If you are not a JAST member, it’s not too late to join and take part in this great series of events. For more information, check out jastweekend.eventbrite.com or call 615-663-6060 or email jastninfo@jastn.org...

    Go comment!
  • Chamber's International Business Council Welcomes New Japanese Consul-General

    by Lori Odom | May 06, 2015
    The Chamber welcomes Masami Kinefuchi, newly appointed consul-general of Japan, to Nashville! Consul-General Kinefuchi arrived in Music City in late April and has already begun meeting and greeting state and local leadership. He assumes the role held by Motohiko Kato, who was reassigned to the Japanese Embassy in London following two and a half years in Nashville.

    Kinefuchi’s career has spanned multiple posts and positions within Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including high-ranking roles at embassies in Canada, Australia, Pakistan and Egypt. His most recent posting was as assistant vice minister of justice in Tokyo, serving as deputy director-general for the Immigration Bureau.

    Kinefuchi is a graduate of the National Defense Academy of Japan, and holds advanced degrees from the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

    The Consulate-General of Japan in Nashville has jurisdiction over five states – Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. The office provides consular services to Japanese nationals, as well as cultural and educational outreach, and encourages deeper economic relationships between Japan and the U.S. Japan is Middle Tennessee’s largest foreign investor nation, with approximately 65 companies employing more than 15,000 people. The Chamber's International Business Council looks forward to continuing our close ...

    Go comment!
  • Cherry Blossoms, Exporting to Europe and More International Happenings in Nashville

    by Lori Odom | Apr 09, 2015

    International events and opportunities are abundant in Middle Tennessee over the next few weeks. Here’s a sampling of what’s in store.  

    Celebrate Japanese cultural connections at this Saturday’s Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival. This family-friendly, free event features more than 20 food trucks and Japanese food vendors; shopping; and cultural lectures and displays, along with taiko drummers and a day packed full of entertainment. The weather promises to be beautiful, and free parking is available at LP Field – check it out!

    Joining this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival will be a delegation from Nashville’s sister city of Kamakura, Japan. This group has embraced the cultural side of the relationship by forming the Nashville-Kamakura Friendship Band, who will perform on the main stage at 10:35 a.m. If you are interested in learning more about the Kamakura-Nashville exchange, check out Sister Cities of Nashville.

    Closing out the weekend on Sunday, April 12, is “Blossoms and Brews,” a celebration of spring, cherry blossoms, Japanese culture and local delicious beer. Presented by JAST Young Professionals, the event takes place at Yazoo Brewery from 2 to 5 p.m.

    On Wednesday, April 15, Lipscomb University will host Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former secretary general of NATO, at ...

    Go comment!
  • White House Official Visits Nashville Region to Discuss Impact of Trade

    by Lori Odom | Mar 19, 2015
    I recently joined Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper and Jerry Abramson, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, for a tour of Goodlettsville-based manufacturer Des-Case and a discussion of how exports to overseas markets promote U.S. job growth.

    The Des-Case visit comes as President Obama is proposing expanded trade promotion authority to three of America’s top four export markets: Canada, Mexico and the U.K. The White House is also asking Congress to approve new trade agreements with the European Union and 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Des-Case has collaborated with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Nashville Export Assistance Center to expand its reach to markets in Central and South America, and, more recently, to Australia and the Philippines.

    Nashville is among the top 40 exporting metro areas in the U.S., exporting nearly $9 billion of locally produced goods around the globe. The Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) saw exports grow by more than 35 percent from 2012 to 2013, the most recent year for available statistics. More than 1,600 companies in the Nashville MSA are exporters of products or services to foreign markets; 82 percent of those are classified as small or ...
    Go comment!
  • Proposed Transatlantic Trade Agreement a 'Game-Changer'

    by Lori Odom | Feb 25, 2015
    The EU and U.S. economies combined represent half the world's global GDP, and the two economies have long enjoyed a mutually beneficial trade relationship. On Feb. 25, members of our International Business Council heard from an expert panel about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and its implications on the global economy.

    TTIP is a proposed comprehensive free trade agreement between the U.S. and the 28 member states of the European Union. Guest panelists Klint Alexander, of Baker Donelson's Global Business Team; Consuls General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Christoph Sander of Germany; and David Short, FedEx Express, described TTIP as a "game-changer" that will level the playing field for U.S. and EU businesses.

    The agreement seeks to streamline the trading process between the two global economic giants by reducing or eliminating tariffs and harmonizing regulatory standards for health and safety -- both of which currently create bureaucratic costs that are passed along to consumers. Our experts predicted that the successful negotiation of TTIP will usher in a new era in transatlantic relations, and would also increase exports, create jobs, boost production and grow the economies of all the nations involved.

    If successful, TTIP can ...
    Go comment!