• Linda Conlin Head Shot 2013
Categorized As:
Business Growth

Connecting to the Global Marketplace

It should come as no surprise that a Global Positioning Strategy for World Class Business Growth for Greater Philadelphia would put a major emphasis on connecting to international business opportunities. Local and state government leaders recognize that increasing exports from and foreign direct investment in our region is key to ongoing job and wealth creation. In late 2012, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter returned from a successful visit to Beijing and Sister City Tianjin in China, while Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett will lead his second international business mission next month to Brazil and Chile. These leaders understand that, with 95 percent of the world’s consumers living beyond U.S. borders, global trade is a vital tool to strengthen our national and regional economies.


Established in 2002, the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia (WTCGP) is bi-state, non-profit and membership organization, belonging to a worldwide network of over 300 world trade centers in over 100 countries. Like its fellow world trade centers, the WTCGP serves as a global business resource, providing international trade services and key global connections to help companies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey expand their global business, whether it be exports, imports, or facilitating inbound delegations and investment opportunities. In 2012, the WTCGP helped companies in the region generate over $170 million in incremental export sales. 


Driving regional economic and job growth through trade and investment is, by definition, a team effort. The WTCGP works closely with partners including Select Greater PhiladelphiaPHL-CVB, and federal, state, and local economic development officials. According to the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Exports Initiative, together we’re moving in the right direction, with the latest data indicating that total export value in the region growing grew to $26.2 billion in 2011, reflecting a solid increase of $3.4 billion over 2010 exports. Greater Philadelphia now ranks as the 11th largest export market in the United States.


Much more remains to be accomplished. The World Class Business Growth Strategy Team that I participated in identified three promising pathways for immediate action to grow global business. First is to equip our region’s leaders with common messaging about Greater Philadelphia’s advantages as a global business hub for use on international visits and in-region meetings with foreign leaders, as well as professional and trade conferences. It’s a competitive world out there, and there will need to be many of us telling the story of economic opportunity in Greater Philadelphia and making the connections that bear economic fruit for our region. Second is to “think strategically.” By identifying priority international markets for increased trade and investment and coordinating and leveraging resources, regional partners have an opportunity to generate greater overall impact. Third is increasing the number of non-stop flights from Philadelphia to large target markets abroad. Nonstop flights have a significant positive impact on trade relationships, and we need to continue to make the economic case for international routes to and from Philadelphia.


The World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia looks forward to being a partner in positioning our region as a world-class destination and center for global commerce.