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CenterState CEO: Syracuse chosen to develop plan for foreign-direct investment

By Eric Reinhardt


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Global Cities Initiative (GCI) has selected Syracuse to develop a regional plan “to attract and leverage foreign-direct investment.”

The effort would build off the existing CenterState metropolitan-export plan.

Syracuse–based CenterState CEO, the 12-county region’s primary economic-development organization, made the announcement in a news release Thursday.

Global Cities Initiative is a joint project of the Washington, D.C.–based Brookings Institution and New York City–based JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM).

Launched in 2012, the GCI helps business and civic leaders “grow their metropolitan economies by strengthening international connections and competitiveness,” according to CenterState CEO.

GCI activities include producing data and research to “guide” decisions; fostering practice and policy “innovations;” and facilitating a peer-learning network.

The initiative has chosen Syracuse as part of the next phase of GCI’s Exchange, “a network that helps metropolitan areas as they create strategies to support sustainable economic growth, first addressing exports and then foreign-direct investment,” according to the release.

After completion, the foreign-direct strategy will “complement” the export plan to form a “cohesive” global trade and investment plan.

As part of this phase, Syracuse will develop a foreign-direct investment market assessment and plan, along with an implementation plan and a policy memo.

This effort, added to the region’s existing regional-export plan, forms the second core component of a “global-engagement” strategy that will “strengthen the region’s global-economic connections and competitiveness,” CenterState CEO contends.

A team of local leaders, including officials from CenterState CEO and the Central New York International Business Alliance, will represent Syracuse.

“We are incredibly grateful to have the support and resources of the Global Cities Initiative, the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase as we work to develop and execute a plan to drive exports and foreign-direct investment in CenterState New York,” said Robert Simpson president of CenterState CEO. “In order to increase our competitiveness as a region and to support the sustainable growth of our region’s businesses, we need to increase our exporting market share. Through a thoughtful planning process, we will be able to achieve these goals and create new wealth in this post-recession economy.”


Areas selected

Syracuse joins Atlanta, Georgia; Des Moines, Iowa; the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson area of South Carolina; Los Angeles, California; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin in developing a foreign-direct investment plan.

Brookings selected the six metro areas after an “extensive” application process, according to CenterState CEO.

GCI picked Syracuse for its “readiness and commitment to strategically pursue” foreign-direct investment such as greenfield expansions; mergers and acquisitions; and other types of foreign investment including EB-5, private equity, joint ventures, and sovereign-wealth funds, CenterState CEO said.

EB-5 is the immigrant-investor program, which the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) administers, according to the USCIS website.

“For this next phase, we selected metro areas that are committed to attracting and leveraging foreign-direct investment as part of a comprehensive global trade and investment strategy,” Brad McDearman, Brookings fellow and director of global-special projects, said in the release. “The six metro areas selected for this round will be strong role models for other regions and represent a growing group of leaders who understand the need to embrace the global market to remain competitive in the 21st century economy.”


Need to improve

Foreign-direct investment has “long supported” regional economies, not only by infusing capital, but also by “investing in workers, strengthening global connections, and sharing best business practices,” CenterState CEO said.

As the world’s largest economy with a “stable” investment environment, the U.S. has been a “top destination” for foreign-direct investment.

Yet in the world’s “increasingly competitive investment market,” America’s global share of foreign direct investment “has fallen,” the local organization noted.

For the nation to regain its standing, cities and metropolitan regions must “capitalize on their competitive advantages.” And, Syracuse is “well positioned” to make foreign-direct investment a “central component of broader,” regional economic-development strategies, CenterState CEO contends.


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