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Delaware is strategically located along the Northeast corridor of the US between the major trade centers of New York City and Washington D.C., and, according to the Delaware International Trade and Development Office is within driving distance of 33% of the American consumer market. Add to this the shipping capacity of the Port of Wilmington, which allows access to consumer markets around the globe, and Delaware stands out as one of the most advantageous locales in the country for international trade activity.
Delaware was ranked eighth in the nation in the 2011 State Business Tax Climate Index, which looked at factors that impact the cost of doing business, including corporate income, sales and unemployment taxes, all of which pointed to Delaware as being one of the most business friendly states in the country.
Delaware’s business friendly tax structure, combined with a particularly well-educated workforce, has allowed the state to emerge as an especially attractive location for foreign investors and domestically based multinationals looking for operational locales within the US. Delaware’s strong standing in the international business arena has contributed to increased enrollment in the state’s business schools by students eager to pursue international business majors that will better position them to participate in Delaware’s growing influence on global markets.
Delaware’s International Trade Partners
Delaware’s success in international trade rests, in part, on the fact that the state is home to Foreign Trade Zone #99, which is one of dozens of such designated industrial areas throughout the US where American companies can take advantage of special procedures that encourage international business activity by allowing delayed or reduced duty payments on foreign materials and merchandise, much of which is used in goods manufactured in the US. Policies such as these have allowed Delaware to thrive even during the economic downturn, as is evidenced by the fact that in 2011, exports from the state rose to $5.5 billion, an increase of more than 18% over the previous year.
The state’s busy Port of Wilmington maximizes Delaware’s trade advantages. It is a full-service deepwater port and marine terminal that handles around 400 vessels and 5 million tons of cargo annually. It is the number one seaport in the country for imports of fresh fruit and concentrated juices, and has the largest dockside refrigerated complex in the United States.
These powerful trade structures lead Delaware to enjoy brisk commerce around the globe. Delaware’s largest trade partner is Canada. The state shipped $1.5 billion in merchandise and services to Canada in 2011, 27% of the state’s total exports that year, according to the International Trade Administration. Other leading trade partners include The United Kingdom and Japan.
China is one of Delaware’s fastest growing trade partners, according to the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs from some of America’s largest corporations. Delaware increased its trade with this important Asian market from $114 million in 2005 to $465 million in 2011.
International Business Jobs in Delaware
Delaware is home to several domestic and foreign-owned multinational companies that enjoy the benefits of the pro-business environment the state offers:
- BASF Chemicals of Germany operates facilities in both Newport and Seaford where they employ more than 300 developers, research scientists, operations managers and corporate staff. This huge multinational has invested almost $180 million in the modernization of infrastructure within the state.
- The French owned Air Liquide recently inaugurated a $35 million research center in Newark, and is expected to be among Delaware’s biggest employers of international business professionals.
- One of Delaware’s largest exporting companies is DuPont Company, a massive chemical innovator and manufacturer with headquarters in Wilmington.
- Vulcan International, a multinational rubber and plastics company, is also headquartered in Wilmington.
Making International Business Contacts in Delaware
Delaware makes resources available to foreign and domestic companies seeking new international business opportunities: