According to the International Trade Administration, in 2010, Missouri exported merchandise to foreign markets totaling $12.9 billion. A total of 4,398 companies based in the state exported raw materials and finished goods to these markets. More than 80% of these companies were classified as small to medium sized businesses. The fact that most companies involved in international trade are smaller enterprises helps illustrate the accessibility of international markets in today’s globalized economy, and highlights the options available to Missouri’s college students pursuing international business majors.
Missouri’s International Trade Partners
Canada is Missouri’s number one international trade partner, importing goods from the state worth $4 billion in 2010. Canada was followed by Mexico with $1.3 billion in imports from the Show Me State that same year. Missouri also does brisk trade with booming Asian markets, including Korea, which imported $655 million in goods from Missouri, followed by Japan with $596 million.
China is one of Missouri’s fastest growing trade partners, according to the Business Roundtable, an association of corporate executives from America’s largest corporations. Trade with China increased from just $76 million in 2000 to over $980 million in 2010.
The state’s largest export is transportation equipment, but its diverse export base also includes products like processed foods and manufactured chemicals used in industrial applications.
International Business Jobs in Missouri
Missouri is home to many multi-national companies that contribute significantly to the economy of the state, including Siemens AG of Germany, a telecommunications giant that operates facilities in Springfield, St. Louis, Maryland Heights and Kansas City. LaFarge North America, a French construction company, employs roughly 120 Missouri workers in Independence. Pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline of the United Kingdom, employs over 300 workers and corporate staff at its St. Louis operation.
More Missouri-based companies are tapping foreign markets and more multi-nationals are establishing operations in the state, calling on the talents of international business managers, consultants, as well as import compliance and trade specialists among others. As Missouri continues to make use of global resources in the rebounding economy, international business professionals can expect the demand for their expertise to continue well into the future.
An International Business Success Story
The story of the Bodine Aluminum plant in Troy, Missouri is the story of how direct foreign investment can create jobs, inject millions in outside capitol into state economies and provide exciting opportunities to international business specialists in the heart of the United States.
The Bodine Aluminum Company was founded in 1912 as a family-owned company that perfected a unique heat-treating process during World War II. The company entered a new era in January 1990 when Toyota purchased the plant to supply its booming North American business. Toyota invested over $570 million to expand and refit the Troy plant and now employs over 900 workers and corporate professionals at the site.
All told, Toyota supports more than 3,500 jobs directly and indirectly in Missouri, including those in its Financial Services Center in Creve Coeur. Through success stories like this and through stimulating a robust export trade, Missouri has made strong inroads to becoming an important center for international business.
Making International Business Contacts in Missouri
Missouri provides resources for those seeking information about international business: