Upstate South Carolina announces today it is one of only six metropolitan areas selected to develop a regional plan to attract and leverage foreign direct investment, building off its existing Upstate SC Regional Export Plan, as part of the Global Cities Initiative – a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Launched in 2012, the Global Cities Initiative helps business and civic leaders grow their metropolitan economies by strengthening international connections and competitiveness. GCI activities include producing data and research to guide decisions, fostering practice and policy innovations, and facilitating a peer‐learning network. This opportunity is part of the next phase of the Global Cities Initiative’s Exchange, a network that assists metropolitan areas as they create strategies to support sustainable economic growth, first addressing exports and then foreign direct investment.
The Upstate will join Atlanta; Des Moines, Iowa; Los Angeles; Milwaukee and Syracuse, N.Y. in developing their foreign direct investment plan. Brookings selected these six metro areas after an extensive application process. The Upstate was selected for its readiness and commitment to strategically pursue foreign direct investment such as greenfield expansions, mergers and acquisitions, and other types of foreign investment including EB‐5, private equity, joint ventures and sovereign wealth funds.
“For this next phase, we selected metro areas that are committed to attracting and leveraging foreign direct investment as part of a comprehensive global trade and investment strategy,” said Brad
McDearman, Brookings fellow and director of global special projects. “The six metro areas selected for this round will be strong role models for other regions and represent a growing group of leaders who understand the need to embrace the global market to remain competitive in the 21st century economy.”
Foreign direct investment has long supported regional economies, not only by infusing capital, but also by investing in workers, strengthening global connections and sharing best business practices. As the world’s largest economy with a stable investment environment, the United States has been a top destination for foreign direct investment. Yet in the world’s increasingly competitive investment market America’s global share of foreign direct investment has fallen.
For America to regain its standing, cities and metropolitan regions must capitalize on their competitive advantages. Metropolitan leaders, in partnership with their states, are best equipped to attract and retain foreign direct investment by promoting their areas’ unique specializations and establishing strategic and mutually beneficial relationships. The Upstate is well positioned to make foreign direct investment a central component of broader regional economic development strategies.
“The selection of Upstate South Carolina to develop a global trade and investment plan – with the guidance from a world‐class think tank – is exactly the kind of innovative planning that will ensure our community’s long‐term economic success,” said Jeff Henry, executive director of Middle Market banking for JPMorgan Chase in South Carolina. “We have a history of helping businesses connect to global markets and the Global Cities Initiative’s foreign direct investment work brings another level of depth to our region’s efforts to further create jobs, attract capital and grow our economy.”
A team of local leaders will join the Upstate SC Alliance in developing the plan including Dave Edwards, GSP International Airport; the Honorable David Britt, Spartanburg County Council; Dr. Robert Carey, Clemson University; and David Shellhorse, Appalachian Council of Governments.
“As the global economy changes, so must we,” said Dave Edwards, president/CEO of the GSP International Airport and champion of the Upstate FDI Plan. “Throughout our work with the Global Cities
Initiative, the goal is to transition the Upstate region from a player to a leader in the global economy. To make the shift, we must be prepared to expand the traditional role of economic development in whatever direction the global economy demands. The FDI plan, along with the recently released Upstate SC Regional Export Plan, will provide the roadmap for this transition.”
“The Upstate region has always excelled in the recruitment of FDI, as evidenced by having double the national average of jobs supported by foreign owned enterprises. By broadening our definition of
foreign direct investment, the Upstate can leverage its solid foundation in international recruitment to strengthen our global competitiveness,“ said John Lummus, president/CEO of the Upstate SC Alliance.
As part of this phase, the Upstate will develop a foreign direct investment market assessment and plan, along with an implementation plan and a policy memo. This work, added to the region’s existing regional export plan, forms the second core component of a global engagement strategy that will strengthen the region’s global economic connections and competitiveness.
The Upstate SC Alliance is the regional economic development organization designed to market and brand the 10‐county region for global business. The Alliance is supported by 150+ public and private investors. For more information on the Upstate SC Alliance, please visit www.upstateSCalliance.com. To learn more about the Upstate’s participation in the Global Cities Initiative, go to www.upstateSCalliance.com/goglobal.