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Connecticut’s strategically advantageous locale on the mid-Atlantic seaboard, coupled with the fact that six of the state’s most populous cities help comprise a major portion of the Greater New York metro area, help position the state’s business community well for participation in international trade. With access to both rich agricultural land and the nearby global financial powerhouse of New York City, the state’s small and medium sized businesses have a unique advantage when it comes to accessing international trade opportunities.
Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development sponsors an Export Assistance Program committed to expanding the state’s involvement in international business by assisting smaller local companies become more competitive in the global marketplace. This program provides these smaller businesses with access to the US Department of Commerce’s network of commercial staff located in 80 countries around the world. This concerted effort put forth by Connecticut’s business community and the state’s Department of Economic Development has given business students who are pursuing international business majors good reason to be eager to join the workforce.
Connecticut’s International Trade Partners
According to the International Trade Administration, more than 4,870 companies export goods and services from the state of Connecticut. In 2010 alone, these companies exported goods, materials and services totaling more than $16 billion.
France is Connecticut’s top trade partner, receiving $2.2 billion, or 14%, of the state’s total exports in 2010. Canada imported $1.6 billion in merchandise from Connecticut-based companies in 2010, making it the state’s second leading trade partner, followed by Germany with $1.3 billion. Connecticut-based exporting companies also do brisk business with China, supplying the Asian Superpower with $1 billion in exports in 2010.
International Business Jobs in Connecticut
Connecticut’s business-friendly environment and location on the eastern seaboard has made it an appealing location for foreign investors looking for operational locales within the United States. Foreign-owned companies employ some 100,000 Connecticut residents, accounting for more than 7% of the state’s total private sector employment, according to the International Trade Administration’s 2010 report.
Multinationals with a strong presence in Connecticut include Fujifilm Medical Systems USA, which is headquartered in Stamford. This division of Fujifilm of Japan is a leading provider of medical imaging and information products, and employs some 35,000 workers globally.
Philips, a Dutch electronics company, operates a sales and marketing facility in Wallingford where it employs international market research analysts and marketing managers to help promote its products in both domestic and foreign markets.
Unilever, a global producer of nutrition and personal hygiene products, operates a research and development center in Trumbull that supports over a dozen international brands and employs 400 research staff and another 600 corporate staff including supply chain managers, IT professionals, HR representatives and accountants. This major UK-based multinational employs 167,000 people in similar roles worldwide, and boasts that 53% of its business comes from emerging markets
These multinationals, and many more like them with a presence in Connecticut, are continually seeking talented cultural advisors and liaisons, international trade specialists, global managers and foreign market analysts, among many other international business professionals.
Making International Business Contacts in Connecticut
Connecticut offers a number of resources that provide information on international business in the state: