Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer today joined area business officials to announce the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement (BEAM) region’s Global Trade and Investment Plan.
The plan released today outlines key findings on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the region. It proposes strategies and accompanying action items to guide cultivation of future FDI, which fosters world-class industry clusters and high quality jobs.
Key focus areas include:
* Harness business retention and expansion efforts for best merger and acquisition outcomes among existing foreign and domestic companies, particularly in the middle market.
* Increase export activity among middle market firms.
* Expand foreign direct investment in traditionally strong manufacturing sectors.
· Cultivate FDI from emerging economies in Asia and Latin America. Focus efforts within selected sectors at the intersection of FDI, growth-oriented middle market firms, and high-wage/high-skill jobs.
Kentucky has had five straight years of record-breaking export growth, with 2015 exports totaling more than $28 billion. Foreign firms employ about five percent of the private sector in large metropolitan areas. Yet, they account for 7 percent of compensation, 12 percent of productivity growth, nearly 19 percent of corporate research and development, and over 20 percent of exports.
“We know that an intentional focus on foreign direct investment pays dividends, so I’m proud that the BEAM team is putting our shoulders against this new challenge,” said Mayor Gray. “We’re starting from a strong position, with our clusters of advanced industries providing the leverage for future growth.”
International companies are part of the BEAM region’s most important sectors – automotive, chemicals, business services, life sciences, and Bourbon. Lexington and its surrounding counties are home to companies like Toyota (Japan), Birtley (China), Sumitomo (Japan), and Coldstream Laboratories. And Clariant (Swiss), Flex Films (Indian), Hogan Lovells (United Kingdom), Midea (China), and Linak (Denmark) represent just a part of the FDI in Louisville and surrounding counties.
“The BEAM Global Trade and Investment Plan is important to the BEAM region’s broad goals to grow high-wage jobs in strong, dense 21st Century industry and business clusters,” said Mayor Fischer. “By working together, in partnership with the Brookings Global Cities Initiative, we hope to bring new research and global perspectives to the critical work of making our region a destination and a birthplace of innovation.”
The BEAM Global Trade and Investment Plan is the second plan released in collaboration with the Brookings Global Cities Initiative. BEAM was selected to develop these plans to increase the region’s international engagement in support of its broad economic development goals. The BEAM Regional Export Plan was released in 2013.
In addition to announcing the release of the plan, the Mayors accepted a $220,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase, Brookings’ partner in the Global Cities Initiative, which will support the region’s global engagement efforts. Funds will be used to provide export grants to businesses, assist metropolitan-level efforts to build relationships in and recruit FDI from best prospect markets, and bring thought leadership on international trade and investment to the BEAM region.
BEAM was launched by Gray and Fischer in 2011. Bringing together the 22 counties that include and surround Lexington and Louisville, this strategic partnership implements a regional economic development approach for the Commonwealth’s two largest metropolitan areas. Working together, the Mayors believe they can foster increased growth in manufacturing, and strengthen the foundation of a prosperous future for companies, employees and entrepreneurs.
To learn more about the 22-county BEAM region, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/bluegrass-economic-advancement-movement