International Business Major in Iowa

The state of Iowa is focused on supporting jobs in international business by aggressively pursuing new international trade opportunities. In fact, Iowa’s economy is heavily connected to almost 190 foreign markets around the world, making the state an outstanding locale for recent graduates with an international business major. According to the Business Roundtable, an association of top CEOs from America’s largest corporations, 1 in 5 jobs in Iowa are dependent on robust foreign trade. This represents over 400,000 jobs in the state. What’s more, Iowa’s foreign trade is experiencing tremendous growth, more than tripling in the last decade.

Exports from Iowa totaled over $10.9 billion in 2010 according to the International Trade Administration. Canada was Iowa’s largest trade partner, importing $3.4 billion in materials and goods from the state, followed by Mexico at $1.8 billion and Japan at $852 million. Iowa-based businesses are also moving in to tap the explosive growth of the Chinese economy, exporting $599 million in goods to the Asian Superpower in 2010.

Iowa is poised to take advantage of the new U.S.-Columbia Trade Promotion Agreement. This agreement will allow more than 59% of the state’s exports to be duty free, giving Iowa-based exporters a $3.1 million cost advantage over competitors who do not operate under a Free Trade Agreement. These tariff free exports include industrial machine products like wind turbine components, construction equipment, farm machinery, as well as aircraft engines and parts.

According to the Iowa Department of Economic Development, Iowa has diversified its economy to promote the international export of goods and services related to the manufacturing, processing, biotechnology and green energy industries. Machinery products, not agriculture, are Iowa’s leading exports, representing almost 39% of the State’s total exports in 2010. Still, agriculture is big business in Iowa. In fact, Iowa is the second largest agricultural exporter in the United States, and the number one exporter of specific agricultural products like soybeans, field grains and live animals. As developing countries from the Middle East and Asia seek foreign imports to feed growing populations, Iowa has become a major player in the global agricultural market.

International Business Jobs in Iowa

Iowa is home to a number of major multi-national companies that contribute significantly to the economy of the state. According to the Business Roundtable, foreign-owned companies employ 40,200 Iowans, making up more than 3% of Iowa’s total private sector workforce. When it comes to manufacturing, foreign-owned companies have a tremendous stake in the state, supporting over 8% of Iowa’s manufacturing jobs. Not only does working for a multi-national company provide opportunities to travel and work abroad, it can also be quite lucrative, as foreign-owned companies pay an average of $68,317 per year in Iowa, 32% more than U.S. companies.

Some major internationally-based companies with a strong presence in the state include AEGON USA, an insurance company from the Netherlands, which has its US headquarters in Cedar Rapids. The Iowa Department of Economic Development reports that AEGON currently employs almost 3,500 Iowa residents.

In 2006, German-owned Siemens selected Fort Madison Iowa to build a new wind turbine plant. This plant now employs 600 residents of Fort Madison, producing state-of-the-art wind turbine blades and contributing to the multi-billion dollar global green energy industry.

Other international companies with a strong presence in Iowa include the United Kingdom’s Cadbury Schweppes and GlaxoSmithKline. As these companies continue to expand both at home and abroad, they will require corporate professionals experienced in international accounting, international market research, global management and import compliance.

Making International Business Contacts in Iowa

The state of Iowa is rich in resources for students seeking information about their future careers in international business:

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