According to the Business Roundtable, an association of executives from America’s top corporations, Mississippi sold exports to 180 countries around the globe in 2008, the most recent year for which information is available. The Ports of Mississippi contribute heavily to giving companies in the state logistical access to foreign markets, bringing $1.4 billion into the state’s economy and providing 34,000 jobs that generate $765 million in wages each year. According to the International Trade Administration and the Mississippi Development Authority, more than one thousand Mississippi-based companies exported $8.2 billion in goods and materials in 2010, directly supporting in excess of 50,000 jobs in the state. Mississippi’s international business majors have recognized a goldmine of opportunity, as the state, which has always been known for its business-friendly tax structure, welcomes more foreign companies into the fold.
Mississippi’s International Trade Partners
As the recipient of $1.3 billion in raw materials, finished goods and services in 2010, which accounted for 16% of Mississippi’s total exports, Canada is the state’s number one international trade partner. Mexico follows close behind having imported $1.2 billion in goods and materials from Mississippi that year. China ranked third with $405 million in imports from Mississippi, while Afghanistan was number four, having received $291 million in exports from the Magnolia State in 2010.
The Business Roundtable notes that India is one of Mississippi’s fastest growing trade partners. The $232.3 million in trade Mississippi did with India in 2010 represented an increase of almost 2,300% during the last decade.
As Mississippi continues to tap these and other developing markets, companies will require the services of professionals skilled in international market research analysis, accountants familiar with International Financial Reporting Standards, as well as international business managers, consultants, logisticians and supply-chain managers.
International Business Jobs in Mississippi
Long known primarily as an agricultural producer, Mississippi has positioned itself in recent years as an attractive location for foreign investment and as a launch pad for tapping foreign markets. In 2003, Nissan of Japan opened one of its largest automotive assembly plants in the United States in Canton, inaugurating a new identity for Mississippi as a state with a lot to offer foreign investors. Nissan invested $1.43 billion in new capital developments, building a 3.5 million square foot facility and creating over 4,000 jobs in Canton.
Foreign-owned businesses employ over 25,700 workers in the state, 3% of total private sector employment. VT Halter Marine of Singapore employs 1,279 workers and office staff at its Pascagoula shipyards, manufacturing high-tech ships for navies, coast guards and port authorities around the world. World Color Press of Canada operates a printing plant in Corinth, employing 430, while Plumrose USA, a food product company from Denmark employs 430 workers at its Boonesville facility.
Mississippi is also home to the headquarters and operations of some major American exporting companies. Ergon Refining, headquartered in Jackson, is a market-leading company dealing with petroleum-related products. Ergon employs nearly 3,000 workers and corporate staff, exporting to markets like China, Russia and Lithuania.
Mississippi’s diverse export base includes the agricultural products the state is so well known for. Staple Cotton Cooperative of Greenwood exports to countries like Bangladesh, China, Turkey and Italy. Sanderson Farms, of Laurel Mississippi, ships poultry products as far as Europe and South America.
Making International Business Contacts in Mississippi
Mississippi offers resources for those interested in seeking information about international business: