A new Upstate SC Alliance partnership includes economic development organizations, businesses and universities to further promote foreign-direct investment in the region. The partnership announced by the regional economic organization’s leaders at their annual meeting today will help guide a five-year plan to “leverage exports and foreign-direct investment to grow global engagement.”
The foreign-direct investment plan is part of the alliance’s continuing participation in the Global Cities Initiative, a project of the Brookings Institution and JP Morgan Chase. The new plan complements an Upstate export plan launched in 2015, an alliance statement said.
A 2015 market assessment by the alliance shows the Upstate’s success growing its manufacturing base and attracting foreign-direct investment have the region positioned as a “key hub in the global value chains of its target industries.”
“The benefits of foreign investment to the economy are extensive,” a Brookings national analysis shows. “In 2011, the average employee of a foreign-owned firm was paid $77,000 compared to $60,000 for domestic employees, and though large firms represent only 5% of U.S. employment, they account for 19% of corporate research and development spending and more than 20% of total U.S. exports.”
A Brookings report in 2014 showed 10.6% of jobs in the Upstate provided by foreign-owned enterprises, compared with 5% nationally. Among 366 metropolitan areas, Spartanburg ranked No. 3 at 18%, Anderson No. 7 at 13.4% and Greenville No. 67 at 6.1% for share of jobs in foreign-owned enterprises. Greenville ranked No. 23 for share of jobs in foreign-owned enterprises among the largest 100 metropolitan areas.
Among the 572 micropolitan areas in the U.S. for share of jobs in foreign-owned enterprises, the report showed Gaffney No. 11 at 23.6%, Greenwood No. 22 at 14.5%, Seneca No. 37 at 11.7%.
The alliance statement says “an unintended consequence of the region’s long focus on industrial recruitment is an economy that lags in services, technology and research and development.”
“Leaders across the Upstate region have committed to take tangible action on what our research shows is key to a strong, diverse economy,” said Marek Gootman, fellow and director of strategic partnerships and global initiatives at the Brookings Institution. “Through this planning process, the Upstate will determine how to better help local firms and the region take advantage of opportunities in the global marketplace. The Upstate region, through the Upstate SC Alliance, joins a select group of metro areas working to strengthen their international connections and competitiveness through the Global Cities Initiative, where executing regional trade and investment strategies is yielding measurable results.”