We are more likely to hear, and more likely to listen to, the stories about jobs going to Canada, Mexico or the Far East. Far less attention is paid to jobs that free markets create for our own workers.
So it is with that in mind that we ask these two questions:
How much do you know about New Zealand Milk Products USA?
It produces about $650 million in annual revenues.
How about Chroma Acrylics Inc.?
It employs about 30 people and expects to add 30 more.
They both have a presence in Central Pennsylvania, and they have origins in Australia.
They are just two examples of how globalization of world economies affect us right here in the heart of our state.
Pennsylvania ranked 10th in the nation for its export sales in 2001, with $21.9 billion in sales, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. About 13,000 jobs are supported by every $1 billion in U.S. exports, according to the Commerce Department.
Such figures are impressive, and our guess is the numbers will keep on climbing.
Former Gov. Tom Ridge and Gov. Mark Schweiker have been aggressive in pursuing overseas markets for the commonwealth’s businesses. The state has 17 trade offices worldwide, and 13 of them were opened under Ridge, including an office in Australia.
Our conservative nature normally would make us grimace at the thought that Schweiker spent $250,000 for a recent trip to Australia and the Far East. He was accompanied by business leaders, including Tighe King, owner of Tighe Industries in York County. (People from the private sector paid their own way).
“Working with state agencies such as this … it gives us a great deal more opportunity,” King told the Business Journal in a March 15 article (“Australia trip markets state,” page 1).
Schweiker has budgeted $1 million for trade missions in the next year, and some of that money presumably would be available to the winner of the governor’s race in November. The state also plans to spend $8 million for improvements to the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal at the Port of Philadelphia.
We say that is money well spent, especially if businesses are wooed into moving operations into our region or elsewhere in the commonwealth.
We believe in the efficiency of electronic communication. Yet the reality of any business transaction is a face-to-face meeting is still crucial for deals to be closed.
“You’ve really got to be networking with business leaders,” said Alan Burton, president of New Zealand Milk Products USA, which has offices in Lemoyne. “Having someone like the governor visit really opens the door.”
We agree, and we are eager to hear what new ventures are in store for us. Central Pennsylvania was attractive to New Zealand Milk Products and to Chroma Acrylics because our region is close to major cities on the East Coast. (In case you missed the March 15 article, Chroma is looking for 100,000 square feet, so it can expand.)
An official with New Zealand Milk Products also noted that Central Pennsylvania offered reasonable costs for doing business.
Our guess is that the magic combination of reasonable costs in a convenient location will continue to attract quality foreign businesses, as long as the state keeps expressing interest.