In the face of a bumpy economic recovery, Idaho has become one of the breakout stars among states for promoting business growth through easy access to a skilled workforce and low cost energy, in addition to providing a range of financial incentives to help maximize profitability and job growth while minimizing operational costs.
Idaho’s business community already has a strong relationship with foreign markets, exporting merchandise worth $5.9 billion in 2011 alone. Idaho has become internationally famous for its information technology sector, and also does robust international trade in the export of consumer electronics, machine and airplane parts, and mineral fuels. According to the Idaho Department of Commerce, Idaho-based companies exported goods and services to more than 144 countries in 2009.
Idaho’s business students are looking at the unique position the state is in as a well-established participant in international trade. The existing tie to foreign markets that has helped support the state’s massive agri-business sector for decades, is now helping the manufacturing, mining and information technology sectors gain easier access to trade partnerships around the world. These trade partnerships, along with the pro-business incentive programs and tax structure the state offers, have prompted many business students in the state to declare international business as their major, as they see the opportunities that are likely to exist well into the future.
The American Legislative Exchange Council ranked Idaho fifth in its Best Economic Outlook classification of states, while the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranked Idaho number three in its Highest Projected Percentage Job Growth category and number nine among all states for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Idaho is also set to take advantage of the wave of growth in green energy production and for creating environmentally friendly jobs. The Pew Institute named Idaho the state with the Fastest Growth of Green Jobs, and the Energy Information Administration deemed Idaho number seven on its list of Best States for Renewable Source Electricity Generation.
Idaho’s International Trade Partners
Idaho’s largest trade partner is Canada, exporting $1.16 billion in metals, minerals and manufactured goods to its neighbor to the north in 2010, an increase of more than 55% over 2009. China comes next, as the recipient of Idaho exports totaling $657 million in 2010. Taiwan follows close behind, as the recipient of Idaho exports amounting to $627.6 million that year. In fact, machinery exports to Taiwan alone were up 399% percent in 2010 over 2009 totals.
These figures point to tremendous expansions in trade, meaning Idaho-based corporations involved in international export will require international business professionals in greater numbers to merely sustain this healthy pace of development.
The Idaho Potato Commission reports that Idaho now controls 33% of the Mexican potato market, and also exports around the world to Canada, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Central America, among other locales. To handle this increase in trade, the Commission recently opened offices in Mexico, Hong Kong and Malaysia to build and maintain trade relations in these burgeoning markets.
International Business Jobs in Idaho
Idaho is the home to many major multinational companies that afford their employees the opportunity to work and travel abroad. Among these are high-profile industry leaders in information technology. In fact, the largest employer in the state is Micron Technology, a worldwide producer of semiconductors, which is headquartered in Boise where it employs 15,000 research scientists, developers, business professionals and other staff. ON Semiconductor is another electronics supply company with manufacturing and design offices around the world, in addition to a major US manufacturing plant employing more than 2,300 in Pocatello.
As Idaho continues to court foreign investment and increase its export reach, companies will require more professionals versed in the nuances of international business, including foreign market research analysts, international marketing managers, import compliance specialists, international business managers and management consultants, as well logistics and supply chain managers, among many others.
Making International Business Contacts in Idaho
Resources are available to Idaho-based businesses and foreign-owned companies exploring new international trade opportunities or operational locales in the state: