According to the International Trade Administration, Pennsylvania’s merchandise exports to foreign markets totaled $41 billion in 2011, while export-related manufacturing jobs accounted for 3.8 percent of Pennsylvania’s total private-sector employment that year. Manufacturing and material exports are only part of what has helped Pennsylvania-based companies position themselves so well in the global marketplace. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), recently reported that the state’s business services and information technology sectors are among the fastest growing in the nation, and key components to Pennsylvania’s international service export base.
Pennsylvania has the third largest number of colleges and universities of any state in the country. Students in the state’s many respected business schools are more often choosing to major in international business, recognizing the unique opportunity the state’s network of trade organizations provide to businesses built around the massive international trade capacity of the state’s port system.
The ports of Pennsylvania, which include the Port of Philadelphia, the Port of Pittsburgh and the Port of Erie, are among the busiest on the east coast. These ports are a part of the Regional Export Network, which provides manufacturing and services companies with export development services, such as market research, development and technical support and market entry strategies.
Pennsylvania’s port system, through which all material exports leave the state destined for international markets, have played a huge role in the state’s employment. The Port of Pittsburgh alone has brought more than 217,000 jobs to the state.
Pennsylvania’s International Trade Partners
In a recent publication, the International Trade Administration reported that 12,321 companies were involved in exporting materials, finished goods and services from Pennsylvania, 89 percent of which were classified as smaller enterprises with fewer than 500 employees.
Pennsylvania’s largest trade partner is Canada; with merchandise exports to the Northern neighbor totaling $11.4 billion in 2011. Pennsylvania’s other leading trade partners include China, Mexico, Japan, and Germany.
International Business Jobs in Pennsylvania
According to the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs from some of America’s top corporations, more than 1.6 million jobs in Pennsylvania depend on international trade. The biggest U.S.-based multinationals with headquarters, corporate offices, manufacturing plants and distribution centers in Pennsylvania, are also some of the state’s leading employers of international business professionals, including global managers, international marketing managers and market research specialists, trade compliance specialists, and accountants familiar with the International Financial Reporting Standards:
- H.J. Heinz, which is headquartered in Pittsburgh, is the most global of all U.S. based food companies, according to its website. The company, which is valued at $10.7 billion, distributes products to more than 200 countries around the world and employs more than 35,000 people around the world.
- The Hershey Company, the leading snack food company and the largest manufacturer of chocolate and confectionary products in North America, is headquartered in Hershey. This global company has more than 14,000 employees worldwide, annual revenues of more than $5 billion and business operations in 50 countries.
- U.S. Steel Corporation (USS), which is headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a manufacturer of sheet steel, tin products, and taconite pellets, and is also involved in transportation, real estate development, leasing and financial services. U.S. Steel has operations and customers all over the world.
- Wesco, which is headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a leading distributor of electrical and industrial products. This company employs more than 6,000 people and has more than 100,000 customers worldwide. In North America alone, this company has over 350 full-service branches.
- Alcoa, a Pittsburgh-based company, is the world’s leading producer of primary aluminum and fabricated aluminum. This global company employs more than 61,000 people in 31 countries around the world.
Making International Business Contacts in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is dedicated to helping businesses reach their international business goals and offers free assistance through a number of trade organizations: