Situated near the southern heart of the country on the wide banks of the Mississippi river upstream form the Gulf of Mexico, Arkansas is a state at the nexus of the country and near a major waterway transport hub. This makes Arkansas attractive to domestic companies and foreign investors who wish to establish operations in a state well positioned for international trade.
International trade is big business in Arkansas, and the state’s college students are stepping up to be a part of it. This is evidenced by increased enrollment in the state’s business schools by students pursing international business majors. According to the Business Roundtable, an association of corporate executives from some of America’s top corporations, global trade supports nearly 270,000 jobs in Arkansas, which amounts to nearly one in every five private-sector employees.
Almost 75% of the nearly 2,000 Arkansas-based companies that sell products abroad are classified as small to mid-sized enterprises. This kind of economic diversification allows Arkansas’s economy to remain resilient, while other state economies may court disaster if just one major industry leader falters.
According to the Aransas Economic Development Commission, Arkansas ranked ninth in the nation in terms of low cost of doing business relative to neighboring states. Foreign trade in Arkansas is only expected to grow as the state’s business-friendly policies become more attractive to foreign investors.
International business majors will discover an exciting job market in Arkansas. As companies continue to expand into foreign markets they will require professionals educated in trade relations, international marketing and market research analysis; as well as international accounting, global management and international banking.
Arkansas’s International Trade Partners
Arkansas exported goods and service totaling $5.2 billion in 2010, according to the International Trade Administration. As the recipient of $1.4 billion in exports from Arkansas in 2010, Canada is the state’s leading trade partner. Next is Mexico with $544 million, China with $336 million and the United Kingdom with $186 million.
The diverse products Arkansas ships to foreign markets compliment this diversity of trade destinations. The state’s leading export is transportation equipment, accounting for $814 million in total exports in 2010, but Arkansas is also a major international exporter of processed foods, industrial chemicals, fabricated metals and industrial machinery.
International Business Jobs in Arkansas
The multinational corporations that call Arkansas home have helped to accelerate job growth and support the state’s economy by injecting capitol in the form of payroll and infrastructure development.
Acxiom Corporation, headquartered in Little Rock, is an American marketing technology company with more than 6,500 employees worldwide, and which serves clients form locations in the United States, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America and the Middle East.
Another major company with a presence in Arkansas is FedEx, which was founded in Little Rock, but now has its headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee, and which employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. The FedEx Freight Office located in Harrison employs import and export compliance specialists, among other international business professionals.
Making International Business Contacts in Arkansas
Arkansas offers many resources for those seeking information about international business in the state: