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Pa. lands first North American hosting of World Forum for Foreign Direct Investment

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The World Forum for Foreign Direct Investment in Philadelphia from June 16-18 will mark the first time the international event has come to North America.

The annual forums are run by Red Hot Locations and attract executives from global corporations, ministries of trade, site location consultants, trade and investment agencies, sovereign wealth funds and economic development officials from around the world.

“For the past 11 years we have held the Forum in Europe and in Asia, continents with countries, cities and regions which have competed for FDI for over 30 years,” Cathy Dawson, president of Red Hot Locations, said in a news release. “The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania heard that we were looking to host the conference in the U.S. and stepped in quickly. By hosting the WORLD FORUM, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania are reinforcing their position on the global FDI map, not just on the national map.”

C. Alan Walker, secretary of the state Department of Community and Economic Development, expressed excitement at "the opportunity to showcase the reasons why companies throughout the world are coming to Pennsylvania to grow and thrive.”

According to the department, Pennsylvania boasts the largest international business development network of any state in the nation, with 11 investment offices covering 23 countries, 22 trade offices covering 73 countries and 10 local regional export network partners throughout the state.

Last fiscal year, with an appropriation of $7.3 million, the commonwealth’s international business programs facilitated more than $795 million in new export sales for Pennsylvania companies, supporting 7,000 jobs, and more than $85.2 million in foreign direct investment supporting more than 1,000 jobs, the department said.

According to fDi magazine, Pennsylvania is home to nearly 6,000 foreign-owned businesses employing more than 250,000 people and was one of only three U.S. states to have positive growth in foreign direct investment from 2012 to 2013.

This year is projected to be another growth year for Pennsylvania, with several foreign companies already announcing investments, including three that the department said are a direct result of Gov. Tom Corbett’s business development missions to France and Germany (2012) and Brazil and Chile (2013).

In April, French food processing company Charles & Alice announced it will establish its first processing site in the United States in Lancaster County. The company will invest more than $10.6 million and has committed to creating at least 50 new jobs. Charles & Alice will work with Lancaster-based distributor Hess Brother’s Fruit Company as its apple supplier for its products.

Torcomp USA LLC, a machinery manufacturer, also announced in April that it will establish its first U.S. facility in Franklin County, a move that will create 73 new jobs in the region.

Finally, in February, Fibria Celulose S.A., the world’s largest producer of bleached eucalyptus kraft pulp, announced it will move its current shipping operations from the Port of Baltimore to the Tioga Marine Terminal operated by Delaware River Stevedores Inc. at the Port of Philadelphia.

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer covers Lancaster County, nonprofits, education and health care. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at heathers@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @StaufferCPBJ.

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