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The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development attributes the state’s strong economic standing to its fiscally conservative legislature, its well-managed and progressive governmental platform and its business friendly climate. These factors have been a tremendous draw for foreign investors interested in establishing operations in the state, while also helping local companies compete in the global marketplace by controlling the cost of doing business.
Utah’s fiscal policies have allowed international trade to thrive, which has been a tremendous boon to the state’s economy. According to the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs from some of America’s top corporations, 358,400 jobs in Utah depend on international trade. The International Trade Administration reported that 2,535 Utah-based businesses were involved in international exports, and nearly 87 percent of these were smaller companies with fewer than 500 employees.
In recent years, Utah has been recognized by a number of respected publications, think tanks and research groups for its success in creating a pro-business environment:
- The Pew Research Center named Utah the “Best Managed State in the Nation”
- Forbes declared Utah the “Best State for Business”
- The Beacon Hill Institute called Utah the “Number One Most Competitive State for Business”
- The Milken Institute named Utah the “Number One in Technology Concentration and Dynamism”
When asked about Utah’s position in the global market, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert said his administration is focused on three major areas: Development, Energy and Education. As foreign competition for skilled corporate positions has increased, so has the rate of enrollment in international business programs within Utah’s business schools. Business students have recognized that pursuing a major in international business is perhaps the best way to be prepared for doing business in the 21st century, a belief that has been echoed by the Utah Governor’s Office.
There are a number of organizations in place to promote international business opportunities in Utah, including the Utah U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC), which is part of a network of domestic and international offices overseen by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The USEAC provides counseling and advice on expanding into foreign markets, and can even help local businesses establish international contacts. The World Trade Center Utah, which is part of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, provides a number of resources for Utah-based companies engaged in international trade, including trade leads, matchmaking opportunities, training classes and seminars.
Utah’s International Trade Partners
According to the Utah World Trade Center 2011 report, Utah’s number one foreign trade partner is the United Kingdom, followed by Greater China, Canada, India, Switzerland, Singapore, Mexico, and Japan. Most foreign investment in the state in the form of payroll and newly established or expanded operations came from multinationals based in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland and France.
Utah World Trade Center showed the state’s top merchandise exports in 2011 to be primary metal, computer and electronics products, chemicals and transportation equipment. The International Trade Administration reported in 2010 that the metropolitan area of Salt Lake City was the number one merchandise exporter in the state, followed by Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield.
International Business Jobs in Utah
The International Trade Administration reported that foreign-controlled companies employed nearly 29,000 Utah workers in 2009, the most recent year for which this data is available. Domestic and foreign employers involved in all aspects of international trade were directly and indirectly responsible for more than 350,000 jobs in the state, and nearly 18 percent of all manufacturing jobs in Utah depended on foreign exports.
Autoliv, a worldwide leader in seatbelts, airbags and other automotive safety technology, is headquartered in Ogden and has more than 80 subsidiaries and joint ventures in more than 30 countries worldwide. Adobe Systems has corporate offices in Orem, where the global software and digital applications giant has 650 employees engaged in product development, sales, marketing and operations.
Although manufacturing and intellectual property plays an important role in Utah’s economic vitality, service exports have proven to be hugely important as well. Goldman Sachs, one of the leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firms, has its industrial loan bank headquartered in Salt Lake City, where it employs more than 700 investment advisers, investment bankers, broker-dealer agents, accountants and auditors, consultants and corporate staff. Convergys is a global leader in customer care, human resources and billing services. It has seven locations in Utah and more than 70,000 employees across the globe.
Making International Business Contacts in Utah
International business professionals in Utah interested in exploring foreign markets have free access to a number of valuable resources: