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LVEDC Hosts International Business Representatives for Lehigh Valley Tour

By Colin McEvoy on August 1, 2019

International representatives from the Pennsylvania Office of International Business Development network listen to a presentation at the Lehigh Valley Industrial Parks offices during their Lehigh Valley tour.

There’s a network of business investment representatives stationed all around the world, speaking regularly with international companies in such countries as France, Germany, China, India, and Japan, encouraging them to establish U.S. operations in the state of Pennsylvania.

This week, those representatives here in the Lehigh Valley, learning about the regional economy and economic assets here, gathering information so they can advocate on behalf of the region to international companies when they return to their offices overseas.

“I think the Lehigh Valley is one of the strongest areas in Pennsylvania, and maybe one of the strongest areas in the country,” said David Moock, a representative from Germany. “It’s a great place. I’m always impressed by the Lehigh Valley.”

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), working in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), hosted a day-long tour of the Lehigh Valley for 13 international representatives from 11 different countries.

“Each year, Pennsylvania’s International Trade Representatives return from their posts across the world and check out the hot spots for development and growth in the state,” said LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham. “It’s crucial that they are well-informed about Lehigh Valley so that we are at the top of their minds when they are recruiting international prospects for the Commonwealth.”

International representives getting off the bus at the Lehigh Valley Industral Parks office in Bethlehem.

The visiting representatives represent the countries Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

They are part of DCED’s Office of International Business Development (OIBD), whose network of overseas offices include contractors available to identify prospects and opportunities for the Commonwealth, and support international companies that choose to invest here.

LVEDC has a long history of collaboration with OIBD and its representatives, Cunningham said.

This marks the third Lehigh Valley tour LVEDC has hosted for them since 2015, and LVEDC representatives accompanied OIBD officials during international business development tours in Western Europe in 2015 and China in 2017. The European tour helped lead the French baked goods company Norac to open its first U.S. facility in the Lehigh Valley.

Joe Burke, Deputy Secretary for OIBD, said foreign direct investment is a vital part of Pennsylvania’s economy. The state is home to more than 6,500 foreign-owned businesses that employ more than 335,500 workers.

“To keep our position as one of the top U.S. states for cross-border investments, it’s important that we continue to educate our team on the latest developments in workforce, economic trends, and business activity,” Burke said. “That’s why have brought our authorized investment representatives to Pennsylvania for the ‘Bringing the World to PA’ tour.”

Mooch said the Lehigh Valley has many economic assets attractive to international companies, including its central location in the East Coast, proximity to major metropolitan areas, strong workforce, excellent higher education institutions, and high concentration of international companies that already have a presence here.

“Especially for Germany, with all the German-speaking heritage here, and the presence of companies like B. Braun, the Lehigh Valley has a lot that overseas companies would be looking for,” Moock said.

The day-long tour of the Lehigh Valley began with a visit to downtown Allentown for a discussion about office development and a tour of new office and residential construction buildings, including the 13-story Five City Center and a presentation by City Center Allentown.

This was followed by a luncheon at Vault 634 in Allentwon, which included presentations by LVEDC, Burke, representatives from The Waterfront development in Allentown, and OIBD representatives Richard Kilner of the United Kingdom, and Surpriya Kanetkar of India.

The tour also included a visit to Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII, which included a presentation by J.G. Petrucci Company, Inc. about successful Lehigh Valley international projects like Alpla and Norac, as well as a discussion by LVIP about opportunities in Lehigh Valley for target sector international firms in manufacturing.

The 11 countries represented by the representatives in the tour have contributed $2.3 trillion in investment to the U.S. economy, according to George Lewis, LVEDC Director of Research and Analysis.

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