Louisiana’s exploding global trade network makes the state a prime location for those majoring in international business. According to the World Trade Center of Louisiana, in 2011 the state’s worldwide exports increased by 45% over 2010 totals. The Business Roundtable, an association of top CEOs from America’s largest corporations, issued a report in 2011 showing that one in five jobs in Louisiana, some 552,000, depend on exports to foreign markets. In just the last decade, the number of foreign trade related jobs in Louisiana grew five times faster than total employment in the state.
Louisiana’s export strength lies in its major ports, which serve as direct conduits to foreign markets, directly and indirectly supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs in the state. The Port of South Louisiana, consisting of the sister ports of New Orleans and Greater Baton Rouge, is the 4th largest port system in the world, according to the American Association of Port Authorities.
Louisiana’s largest exports were agricultural products, accounting for $15.1 billion in 2010, followed by petroleum and coal, accounting for $10.8 billion and processed food products, which totalled $4 billion. This diverse export-base serves to ensure Louisiana’s economic stability as developing countries around the world continue to require ever-larger supplies of energy and foodstuffs.
Louisiana’s International Trade Partners
More than 2,500 Louisiana-based companies export to foreign markets, according to the International Trade Administration. Exports of merchandise and services totaled $41.4 billion in 2010. Louisiana’s largest trade partners are in the vitally important Asian markets, with China leading the way as the recipient of $6.5 billion in exports from Louisiana, followed by Japan with $3.1 billion. Just behind the Asian markets was Mexico, which received $2.8 billion in goods and materials from Louisiana, followed by the Netherlands and Canada, which rounded out the state’s top trade partners with $2 billion in Louisiana exports a piece.
International Business Jobs in Louisiana
Foreign-owned companies are an important part of Louisiana’s economy. According to the Business Roundtable, multi-national companies employ almost 50,000 Louisiana workers, three percent of the state’s total work force. The numbers become more impressive in the manufacturing sector: 14,700 Louisiana jobs, or 10 percent of all manufacturing jobs in the state, are dependent on U.S. subsidiaries of foreign owned companies. Working for a multi-national corporation affords workers the opportunity to travel and work abroad and also presents unique financial incentives, as U.S. subsidiaries of foreign corporations pay an average of $65,317 per year, a remarkable 32% more than similar U.S. Companies.
Some major foreign-owned companies with operations in Louisiana include Air Liquide of France. Air Liquide is a Global Fortune 500 company and operates one of its 12 hydrogen production units in Geismer. This plant was built specifically to supply hydrogen to BASF, a chemical company headquartered in Germany, which operates the largest industrial chemical manufacturing plant in the world, located in Geismer. According to BASF’s website, the company’s Geismer site employs 1,250 workers and has an annual payroll totaling almost $120 million.
Other international companies with operations in Louisiana include Sodexo, a major food and facilities management corporation based in France, as well as British Petroleum of the United Kingdom, one of the largest petroleum producers in the world with 80,000 employees in 29 countries. As these companies continue to expand their operations in the state, they will continue to add jobs in international marketing, business management consultation and foreign market analysis.
One of Louisiana’s largest exporting companies is Abbot Laboratories of Harahan, a healthcare products company that exports to markets like Brazil, Malaysia and Australia. The ConocoPhillips Refinery of Lake Charles is an economic powerhouse in the southwest corner of the state. The refinery has a daily crude throughput of 239,000 barrels and employs 800 workers with a yearly payroll amounting to $80 million. Louisiana Rice Mills of Mermentau takes advantage of its proximity to nearly 500,000 acres of prime rice-producing land to manufacture its milled rice, and exports to countries like Haiti and Panama.
Making International Business Contacts in Louisiana
The state of Louisiana is rich in resources for those seeking information about careers in international business: