Nov 2013 27

by Rodrick T. Miller, Pres­i­dent and CEO New Orleans Busi­ness Alliance

New Orleans’ strength is in its his­toric diver­sity in pop­u­la­tion and indus­try. His­toric immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties included French, Span­ish, Amer­i­can, and African peo­ple. Legacy indus­tries such as trade, oil and gas, man­u­fac­tur­ing and tourism have built our strong eco­nomic foun­da­tion; while emerg­ing indus­tries such as film pro­duc­tion, biotech, sus­tain­able indus­tries and dig­i­tal media are chart­ing our future course.

As Thanks­giv­ing and the hol­i­day sea­son approaches, I am thank­ful for the innate diver­sity in our com­mu­nity, how­ever, I know that we must do a bet­ter job of includ­ing all New Orlea­ni­ans in our path to eco­nomic growth. The unfor­tu­nate truth is that New Orleans is one of the least equi­table cities in the nation. Although 69% of New Orleans res­i­dents iden­tify as a racial minor­ity, our com­mu­nity has the high­est income gap between minor­ity and white res­i­dents of any major US city. In 2012, one in two of our working-age black men are unem­ployed. To begin to com­bat these sys­temic issues from an eco­nomic per­spec­tive, New Orleans needs a focused effort to cre­ate oppor­tu­ni­ties for all res­i­dents to prosper.

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Nov 2013 25

In the Sum­mer 2013 issue of South­ern Busi­ness and Devel­op­ment, New Orleans ranked #1 of all major cities in the US South­ern region for the great­est num­ber of cor­po­rate projects between 2003–2012. This pos­i­tive rank­ing indi­cates the strong eco­nomic per­for­mance of New Orleans in recent years, and its com­pet­i­tive posi­tion rel­a­tive to other major cities in the region for busi­ness investment.

Read the full arti­cle from South­ern Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Mag­a­zine.

Nov 2013 13

In New Orleans, think­ing inter­na­tion­ally is in our DNA. Our port and geo­graphic posi­tion at the mouth of the Mis­sis­sippi River, skilled local work­force, and trans­porta­tion infra­struc­ture, have made the city a cen­ter of trade for nearly three cen­turies. Pres­i­dent Obama’s visit to the Port of New Orleans last Fri­day, and the recent news that New Orleans led the nation in exports per capita in 2012, con­firms the scale of our oppor­tu­nity in grow­ing inter­na­tional trade and For­eign Direct Invest­ment (FDI or insourc­ing companies).

FDI rep­re­sents one of the best ways to see large-scale increases in jobs, con­struc­tion, research and devel­op­ment, local pur­chas­ing, and rein­vest­ment. Louisiana has had sig­nif­i­cant suc­cess in attract­ing FDI recently (Sasol’s recent project in Lake Charles), and South­ern states as a whole have increased their share of FDI from 33% to 37% between 2003 and 2012. The Michoud Assem­bly Facil­ity, favor­able tax cred­its, and our bur­geon­ing work­force are key advan­tages that demon­strate our com­pet­i­tive­ness to inter­na­tional com­pa­nies. For­eign firms like Gameloft are tap­ping into local cre­ative tal­ent while Blade Dynam­ics found the per­fect man­u­fac­tur­ing facil­ity for their needs at Michoud. FDI sup­ports a strong and sus­tain­able econ­omy by:

  • Increas­ing US GDP: Insourc­ing com­pa­nies increased their con­tri­bu­tion to the US GDP by 25.2% over the last decade.
  • Spurring Eco­nomic Activ­ity: Sales rev­enue of for­eign com­pa­nies whom invested in the US grew by 14.5% ver­sus 12% growth by the rest of the pri­vate sector.
  • Spend­ing and hir­ing locally: Insourc­ing com­pa­nies expe­ri­enced a 12.6% increase in expen­di­tures on mate­ri­als, labor, and other pro­duc­tion inputs, as com­pared to a .01 per­cent rate of growth in the over­all pri­vate sec­tor. They rein­vest between 50 and 100 bil­lion annu­ally into the Amer­i­can economy.
  • Pro­vides well-paid jobs: FDI sup­ports 5.6 mil­lion jobs in the U.S. For­eign firms in the US pay work­ers on aver­age 22% more than the US pri­vate sec­tor over­all, over $70k per year on average.
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Nov 2013 11

Stephen Moret was appointed sec­re­tary of Louisiana Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment (LED) by Gov. Bobby Jin­dal in Jan­u­ary 2008. As the leader of Gov. Jindal’s eco­nomic devel­op­ment team, Moret has trans­formed LED into one of the top state eco­nomic devel­op­ment agen­cies in the country.

Q: What are the major ben­e­fits of doing busi­ness in Louisiana that you hear most often about from inter­na­tional investors?

When multi­na­tional com­pa­nies seek to expand into the U.S., they typ­i­cally look for three key assets: a business-friendly invest­ment cli­mate; avail­abil­ity of an exten­sive infra­struc­ture that pro­vides access to large con­sumer mar­kets; and an effi­cient and avail­able work­force that meets their needs.

Louisiana has clear advan­tages in all three of these areas. We con­sis­tently rank in the Top 10 nation­ally in sev­eral busi­ness cli­mate rank­ings; our infra­struc­ture in terms of ports, rail, high­ways and pipelines is sec­ond to none; and Louisiana’s work­force – com­bined with the best state work­force devel­op­ment pro­gram in the nation, LED Fast­Start® – meets the demands of the con­tem­po­rary econ­omy across an array of lead­ing industries.

Q: What are Louisiana Eco­nomic Development’s major activ­i­ties to attract inter­na­tional invest­ment to Louisiana?

Over the past few years, Louisiana has become a global pow­er­house in attract­ing large-scale, multibillion-dollar inter­na­tional projects. For­eign, multi­na­tional com­pa­nies – such as Sasol, Shell, Gameloft, and Ben­teler – have taken advan­tage of Louisiana’s unique assets and LED’s custom-fit, public-private part­ner­ships to develop work­force and infra­struc­ture. That said, we firmly believe we can cap­ture an even larger share of global investment.

LED con­ducts a vari­ety of activ­i­ties to attract for­eign direct invest­ment (FDI) to Louisiana, such as mar­ket­ing mis­sions to other parts of the world (e.g., Japan, Korea, Tai­wan, Ger­many, France, India), adver­tis­ing in inter­na­tional pub­li­ca­tions, and rela­tion­ship build­ing with top global site-selection con­sul­tants. Addi­tion­ally, we develop and invest in tar­geted higher-education pro­grams, work­force devel­op­ment ini­tia­tives, infra­struc­ture, and cus­tomized incen­tives to make Louisiana com­pet­i­tive for spe­cific FDI projects.

LED and the Louisiana Board of Inter­na­tional Com­merce recently com­mis­sioned the state’s first Inter­na­tional Com­merce Mas­ter Plan. The plan estab­lishes a blue­print for suc­cess in FDI and trade pro­mo­tion, and it includes tar­geted ini­tia­tives focused on infra­struc­ture, work­force devel­op­ment, trade out­reach, lead gen­er­a­tion, and orga­ni­za­tional best prac­tices. We’re delighted to have the board’s sup­port in exe­cut­ing this ambi­tious plan, which will result in greater global com­pet­i­tive­ness for Louisiana and thou­sands of new job oppor­tu­ni­ties for our state.

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