The Ohio Department of Development, Global Markets Division reports that Ohio’s export revenues rose to $41.4 billion in 2010, ranking the state eighth in the nation. The job market in Ohio is greatly influenced by the state’s involvement in manufacturing exports. In fact, according to the International Trade Association, 26.9% of the manufacturing workforce in the state owes gainful employment to Ohio’s export businesses. These export-based manufacturing jobs provide 7.1% of the state’s private sector employment. As this includes corporate positions as well as the labor force, Ohio’s international business majors are noting some of biggest growth potential the state has seen in years. This is thanks to a growing export base and state government initiatives to make Ohio more attractive to international trade partners.
Ohio’s state government has promoted international business within its borders through the creation of ten foreign-trade zones. These zones are special geographic sites and warehouses where imported goods can legally be stored, repackaged, assembled and manufactured without the financial burdens of customs duties. These foreign-trade zones are located in Toledo-Sandusky, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Charleston.
Ohio’s International Business Partners
Ohio’s primary foreign corporate investors are from Switzerland, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom, all of which have built substantial research and development facilities and production plants in the state. The Business Roundtable, an association of corporate executives from some of the largest corporations in America, named the top foreign-controlled companies employing Ohio residents:
- Honda Motor Company of Japan
- DaimlerChrysler of Germany
- Royal Ahold of the Netherlands
- Siemens AG of Germany
- Reed Elsevier PLC of the United Kingdom
- Signet Group of the United Kingdom
- Nestle S.A. of Switzerland
- Bridgestone of Japan
- Tomkins PLC of the United Kingdom
Ohio’s participation in international business not only promotes local employment but also creates billions of dollars in revenue through exports. In 2010 alone, merchandise and raw materials shipped abroad produced $41.4 billion in revenue for businesses based in the state. The most lucrative foreign market for Ohio-based businesses is Canada. Close geographic proximity combined with rail line accessibility allowed Ohio to export $17.2 billion to Canada in 2010. Other prominent export destinations for Ohio goods included Mexico (3.5 billion), China ($2.3 billion), France (2.0 billion) and Brazil (1.4 billion).
International Business Jobs in Ohio
In 2009, foreign-based companies were responsible for employing 211,200 residents of Ohio. Although this largely represents production line labor, it also includes research scientists and designers, as well as professionals like global business managers, international business consultants, accountants familiar with International Financial Reporting Standards and trade compliance specialists.
It’s not just large multi-nationals that benefit from Ohio’s involvement in international commerce. Ninety percent of the 12,369 companies that export manufactured goods from locations throughout the state are classified as small to medium sized businesses.
Ohio’s export of transportation equipment totaled $12.7 billion in 2010, while machinery manufactures yielded closer to $5.6 billion. Chemicals ($5.5 billion), computers and electronic products ($2.7 billion) and fabricated metal ($2.5 billion) were among the most highly exported goods manufactured in the state.
Most exported goods are produced in metropolitan areas of Ohio. The top ten biggest export supply cities of 2009 were:
- Cincinnati-Middleton ($15,488,673,599)
- Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor ($8,012,639,472)
- Dayton ($3,771,032,292)
- Akron ($2,957,651,782)
- Columbus ($2,872,727,669)
- Toledo ($1,410,668,486)
- Canton-Massillon ($1,211,647,963)
- Youngstown-Warren-Boardman ($787,877,954)
- Parkersburg ($704,920,170)
- Lima ($486,817,441)
Making International Business Contacts in Ohio
Professional associations are great resources for those interested in learning more about Ohio’s role in international commerce: