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LVEDC-Sponsored Event Focuses on Free Trade Agreements, Changing Energy Landscape

By Colin McEvoy on May 23, 2016

Bill Craft, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, speaking at the IAMC Local event in Philadelphia.

Bill Craft, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, speaking at the IAMC Local event in Philadelphia.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) was proud to sponsor an event held last week by the leading trade association for corporate real estate executives focused on the needs of an industrial portfolio.

The Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC) Local in Philadelphia hosted two prestigious speakers during its May 19 event, which was attended by Matthew Tuerk, LVEDC Vice President of Economic Development and Marketing.

The speakers were Philip Rinaldi, a principal partners and CEO of Philadelphia Energy Solutions, and Bill Craft, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Trade Policy and Programs at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.

“LVEDC was very pleased to sponsor this event, and the speakers provided excellent insights and analysis that will be helpful in advancing economic development here in the Lehigh Valley,” Tuerk said. “IAMC is devoted to providing world-class education, leadership development, and relationship-building opportunities for industrial real estate professionals around the world.”

Craft discussed the United States’ newest free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, and also provided an analysis of future agreements such as Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, as well as how these agreements impact global businesses.

Pennsylvania exported $39.9 billion in goods and $19.9 billion in services in 2014, including pharmaceuticals and medicines, basic chemicals, petroleum, and coal products and travel services, according to Craft. Of the state’s 15,644 exporters, 89 percent are small- and medium-sized companies with less than 500 workers.

Craft said imports lower prices and increase choices for Pennsylvania companies and families. Lower raw material and input costs help Pennsylvania companies stay competitive in global markets, he said, while families can stretch paychecks further as trade agreements reduce the cost of products by eliminating costly barriers to trade.

Free trade agreements have also helped fuel rapid export growth from Pennsylvania to partner countries, Craft said. In 2014, $19.6 billion of Pennsylvania’s goods exports, or 49 percent, went to FTA partners. This represents a 111 percent increase since 2004.

Philip Rinaldi

Philip Rinaldi

Rinaldi, an entrepreneurial industrialist whose career has focused on energy, chemical, and natural resource industries, examined the changing energy landscape and discussed its implications for corporate supply chains and facilities.

Rinaldi has been an investor or the principal executive in a wide range of industries, including oil refining, oil exploration, phosphate mining and chemical production, coke gasification, nitrogen chemical production, zinc refining, and production of molybdenum, rhenium and vanadium derivatives.

Rinaldi’s industrial background includes prominent companies such as Exxon, Phibro, Tosco, Conserve, Seminole, and the Mulberry Corporation. He was also the founding CEO of Coffeyville Resources, which acquired a sophisticated oil refinery and coke gasification-based agricultural chemical plant out of Farmland Industries’ bankruptcy in 2004.

The IAMC includes more than 600 members, including over 200 senior corporate real estate end users. 42 of the 50 states in the country are represented by IAMC members, and member organizations include more than 70 Fortune 500 companies and 19 percent of the Fortune 10.

In the past three years, IAMC member companies have participated in more than 1,185 projects worldwide, invested $66.5 billion, and created 176,032 new jobs, according to the organization.

E-Commerce is the Lehigh Valley’s ‘Wave No One Saw Coming’

This column, written by LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham, originally appeared in Lehigh Valley Business on May 23, 2016. (Click here to read Cunningham’s previous co[...]

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