Foreign businesses seeking US locales for corporate offices and operations look to Vermont as a state that offers unique access to both human and logistical resources. Vermont has a very stable and qualified workforce, with one of the highest per capita college-educated populations in the United States, and enjoys a strategic location near market hubs, ports and many large centers of commerce. Business students in Vermont are more often majoring in international business, as the state has a network of organizations dedicated to facilitating commerce across national boarders by supporting both local businesses expanding into foreign markets and foreign-owned companies interested in doing business within the state.
The Vermont Global Trade Partnership (VGTP) is an organization that offers programs designed to help Vermont’s business community gain access to foreign markets. Among the services provided by the VGTP are trade-related educational seminars, trade shows, technical assistance and one-on-one consulting services. The VGTP also provides grants and funding to businesses interested in taking advantage of international business opportunities.
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce’s International Trade Division offers in-house support and a network of state and federal service providers able to help identify international markets, connect business with federal grants, and bring Vermont’s business community together to share experiences and international business contacts. The Vermont Chamber of Commerce maintains an office in Shanghai, China, where it works to increase the visibility of Vermont’s products and services in China’s growing consumer market.
Vermont’s International Trade Partners
According to the Business Roundtable, an association of executives from some America’s leading corporations, 91,600 jobs in Vermont now depend on international trade, and between 2004 and 2008, trade-related employment in the state grew four times faster than total employment.
The Business Roundtable also reported that Vermont has been able to increase its exports to foreign markets as a result of the implementation of U.S. bilateral and regional free trade agreements (FTAs). Morocco faired among the best, as exports from Vermont to the North African nation increased by 419 percent since the implementation of the FTAs. Vermont exports to Australia also saw an impressive, 73.7 percent increase since the implementation of the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
Vermont’s number one international trade partner is Canada, followed by China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea.
International Business Jobs in Vermont
According to the International Trade Administration, export-supported manufacturing jobs accounted for 4.9 percent of the state’s total private-sector employment, and nearly 24 percent of all manufacturing jobs in Vermont depended on exports as of 2009.
A total of 898 companies exported from Vermont in 2009, and of those, 90 percent were small- and medium-sized companies with fewer than 500 employees.
Foreign-controlled companies employed 10,400 workers and corporate professionals in Vermont as of the most recent International Trade Administration report, published 2009. Vermont’s main foreign investors are multinationals based in Canada, Switzerland, France and the United Kingdom.
There are also a number of well-known multinationals and other corporations with overseas operations that have their roots in Vermont, including Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Burton Snowboards and Seventh Generation.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is recognized as a world leader in specialty coffees and coffeemakers, and produces and sells more than 200 varieties of coffee, cocoa and tea. Green Mountain has been consistently named as an innovative, socially responsible company by Forbes and Fortune, and in 2010, Fair Trade USA named the company the single largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified coffee in the world.
Burton Snowboards, which is headquartered in Burlington, is a global leader in the manufacturing of snowboards, boots, bindings, outerwear, goggles and protection, while Seventh Generation, which is also located in Burlington, is the nation’s leading environmentally friendly brand of household and personal care products sold in the United States and Canada.
Some of Vermont’s largest exporters also include: American Retroworks, JBL Foods, Knight Kitchens, Omya Inc., Plasan, Rock of Agens Corporation, Vermont Castings and VT Leeboy.
The many international businesses with headquarters and operations in Vermont have chosen the locale partly because of the state’s talent pool, as they’ll continue to seek the most talented international business managers and management consultants, purchasing agents and buyers, international marketing managers and market research analysts, and international trade specialists, among many others.
Making International Business Contacts in Vermont
Vermont offers a number of valuable resources to assist businesses starting or expanding their international business endeavors: