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LVEDC Highlights Lehigh Valley for International Companies at Summit

By Colin McEvoy on June 24, 2019

LVEDC Vice President of Economic Development and Marketing Matthew Tuerk (behind booth) at the Pennsylvania booth of the SelectUSA Investment Summit. (courtesy photo)

International representatives of companies from all around the world learned about the Lehigh Valley this month and the business opportunities available to them here.

Representatives from the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) attended the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C., the nation’s highest-profile event dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment in the United States.

The event offered LVEDC the opportunity to highlight the economic assets of Lehigh Valley to senior government officials, C-suite business executives, thought leaders, and other overseas investors seeking places in Northeastern U.S. to invest capital and create jobs.

“International representatives were interested in Lehigh Valley due to our proximity to markets, innovative ecosystem of colleges and universities, and clusters of companies in such industries as life sciences, financial technology, and food and beverage processing,” said Matthew Tuerk, LVEDC Vice President of Economic Development and Marketing.

More than 3,100 people attended the SelectUSA Investment Summit, including 1,200 business representatives, and business leaders and economic development officials from 79 global markets and 49 U.S. states, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Companies based in Lehigh Valley also represented the region at the summit. Bruce Huegel, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at B. Braun Medical Inc., spoke during one of the closing sessions about operating as a medical device and pharmaceutifcal company in Lehigh Valley.

“I was delighted to participate in a plenary discussion on biotechnology at the SelectUSA Investment Summit,” Heugel said. “I applaud the U.S. Department of Commerce for bringing together industry leaders to address the challenges and opportunities facing biotech companies. SelectUSA is the ideal place to learn why businesses should make the United States a key part of their business strategy.”

LVEDC has attended the SelectUSA Investment Summit in previous years as well. This year, the organization attended as part of the full Pennsylvania delegation with the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development.

“By joining the Pennsylvania booth, we were really able to present a united front,” Tuerk said. “We supported DCED and their efforts to attract economic development to the Commonwealth, and were able to take advantage of relationships through the state to have meetings with companies and market Lehigh Valley’s economic assets.”

Tuerk said he had numerous positive interactions with trade representatives from multiple countries, including Germany, Ireland, South Korea, Taiwan, and China, particularly from the Shandong province. He also met with multiple individual companies, covering a multitude of industries from beverage production, to cosmetics manufacturing, to financial technology.

Tuerk said Lehigh Valley’s skilled labor force was of particular interest to international representatives, who are seeking regions with a high quality of life to attract workforce. This has been a particular focus of LVEDC’s recently-launched Made Possible in Lehigh Valley initiative.

Several company representatives expressed interest in opportunities in Lehigh Valley despite uncertainty around trade at a federal level. In particular, Tuerk received inquiries about Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) #272, which allows for the deference or elimination of customs duties and other tariffs on raw materials for finished products coming into the region.

SelectUSA, which is led by the U.S. Department of Commerce, promotes and facilitates business investment into the United States by coordinating related federal government agencies to serve as a single point of contact for investors. It also also helps investors find the information they need to make investment decisions and connect with the right people at local levels.

This year’s sixth annual summit included remarks from National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, eight U.S. governors, and executives from multiple global companies.

“Nowhere else but in the United States will you find such an advantageous mixture of innovation, entrepreneurship, diversity, dedication to hard work, and an incredibly high quality of life,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Opening operations in the United States provides companies with access to the wealthiest and most discerning consumers in the world.”

Municipalities Urged to Join the Made Possible in Lehigh Valley Campaign

This article originally appeared in the May 9, 2019 issue of “Quarterly Connections,” a quarterly newsletter LVEDC distributes to municipal officials in the Lehigh Valley.[...]

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