International business thrives on a company’s ability to make use of economic, regulatory and tax structures that streamline and facilitate access to robust trade with foreign markets. Kentucky’s International Representative Office has proven to be quite proactive in promoting Kentucky-based companies and products to foreign markets. In fact, according to the International Trade Administration, Kentucky’s exports totaled over $19 billion in 2010 alone, almost twice that of neighboring states with similar industries. In 2010, export-related jobs accounted for 6.2% of total private sector employment in Kansas, and 22% of all manufacturing jobs in the state are dependent on foreign exports. Kansas’s college students majoring in international business are eager to join the workforce to lend their skills as international business managers and consultants, trade specialists, market research analysts and custom brokers to the more than 3,200 Kentucky-based companies involved in international trade and commerce.
The Bluegrass state plays an important role in the greater American economy. Kentucky coalfields, along with uranium from the only low-grade uranium enrichment site in the country located in Paducah, are major contributors to the production of electricity that is consumed in the United States. This has effectively established Kentucky as a major energy producer.
Kentucky is also among those rare states that have achieved name recognition beyond the borders of this country. Foreign businesses recognize the state as the home of the Kentucky Derby and as a major producer of Kentucky bourbon. Kentucky bourbon has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts around the globe in the last decade, and is especially popular in Japan, making Kentucky not only an important tourist destination, but also a significant supplier to Japan’s thriving liquor market.
Government-sponsored trade missions are also regularly sent to foreign markets to seek out and establish future business collaborations. The World Trade Center Kentucky will be sending missions to major trade shows in China in 2012, with the Kentucky Export Initiative providing trade partner grants to businesses that wish to attend.
Kentucky’s International Trade Partners
Kentucky’s number one trade partner is Canada, which was the recipient of $5.9 billion in exports from the state in 2010. Kentucky’s next biggest trade partner is the United Kingdom, which received $1.4 billion in goods and materials from Kentucky, followed by Japan at $1.2 billion and Germany at $878 million.
The Business Roundtable, an association of corporate executives from the biggest American corporations, notes that Taiwan is one of Kentucky’s fastest growing trade partners. Kentucky-based exporters shipped $444 million in goods and raw materials to the Asian nation in 2010, up 489% in the last decade. Kentucky’s largest export is transportation equipment, which in 2010 totaled $6.6 billion, followed by industrial chemicals machinery.
International Business Jobs in Kentucky
States that rely on foreign investment to bolster employment fare much better during rocky times than more economically isolated states. According to the International Trade Administration, foreign-controlled companies employed 87,000 Kentucky workers in 2010. Major investment in the form of newly established and expanded production facilities in the state came from countries like Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, all of which are major trade partners.
Multinational companies with operations in Kentucky include Panasonic and Toyota of Japan, GlaxoSmithKline of the United Kingdom and L’Oreal USA of France. L’Oreal is a massive global company with 66,000 employees and offices around the globe, which gives regional teams the ability to interact often with foreign affiliates. According to a recent company press release, L’Oreal’s Florence, Kentucky facility just went green by installing its packager on premises to reduce emissions caused by trucking products to a separate facility to be packaged. These innovative companies, and others, continue to pour investment capitol into Kentucky’s economy, bolstering wages, increasing traffic to local vendors and benefiting the state economy as a whole.
Making International Business Contacts in Kentucky
The state of Kentucky is rich in resources for those seeking information about careers in international business.