The Global Carolina Connections conference was held on August 9th, 2017, and we were there.
Well, not all of us, but Steven Jast and Rebecca Moudry, our President and one of our Business Development VPs, respectively.
Steve was a featured speaker at the event. His talk – The State of Foreign Investment in the Carolinas: Challenges and Opportunities – was very well-received, with lots of follow-up interest. You can see his presentation on Slideshare.
Here are some of highlights from the talk and the day overall:
- The Carolinas stand apart from high innovation/high skills states like Massachusetts, with a more competitive business environment (regulations, legal environment, tax system) and lower costs.
- Global firms are continuing to find great opportunities and support in the Carolinas.
- Western Europe continues to be a strong investor in North and South Carolina. Significant infrastructure and resources in the Carolinas attract firms. Nice increases from Czech Republic, Poland as well.
- BMW USA was awarded the first South Carolina Gateway Award by the South Carolina Chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States. In accepting, BMW noted that their South Carolina plant is the largest BMW plant in the world and is approaching four million vehicles coming out of that factory, which are sent to 140 markets around the world.
- A major challenge to foreign firms operating in the United States continues to be access to financing. This can be challenging for the parent company to understand and to contend with. This is especially the case for start-ups or smaller firms. Economic Developers can be crucial partners to help firms understand options and connect with resources.
- In their keynote address, J.P. Morgan predicted that all major economies will be out of recession in the next few years, noting that this could be a very productive period for the global economy.
- There was lively discussion about the role of China, which is the largest export market for South Carolina and among the top three for North Carolina.
- Presenters noted that the United States’ exit of trade deals could be a challenge to our ability to be competitive in trade.
- South Carolina will continue to lead trade and investment missions around the world in 2018 as part of their recruitment strategy.