The global marketplace offers opportunities for the state's communities to attract new businesses and expand their work forces, international trade experts told members of the Professional Developers of Iowa at a two-day conference.
More than 120 professionals developers, including Chris Nolte of Storm Lake, also discussed immigration issues, the development of foreign trade zones and ways that international trade can support existing businesses.
Nolte said "PDI provides an opportunity to network with peers as well as participate in timely workshops designed to better prepare us to meet the demands we will face in the new economy."
Nolte is CEO of the Storm Lake Chamber of Commerce and Storm Lake Area Development Corp.
"Through the speakers I was able to gain an insight into the challenges that face our state and the actions being taken by the state to address those challenges," he said.
Conference attendees received an overview on global economic trends and the likely impact on Iowa. Sara Johnson, a macroeconomist with DRI-WEFA, a Boston, Mass., economic information firm, said numerous countries are in difficult economic straits.
But, she added, "Our expansions are getting longer and our recessions are shorter and less severe..The Lesson is: Plan ahead."
George Tobjy, Senior Manager of Strategic Location and Expansion Services at the consulting firm KPMG, said six European countries account for 60 percent of all international business investment in the United States.
Tobjy told the development professionals that a focus on specific companies or industries in those countries could increase and Iowa community's odds of winning the economic development race.
"What is important is the right company for your region is approached and approached with the right message," he said.
While noting that other states have an edge in attracting international investment, Tobjy said Iowa communities could find new opportunities in manufacturing, financial services and wholesale trade distribution centers.
"Iowa has an opportunity to position itself" in those areas, he said. "Quality of life is a factor that will play a part in your ability to attract international investment.
For more information, contact the chamber of commerce.