Wednesday, April 9, 2014

International Business Council - Letter from the Council

Post by Alvaro Diaz
Director, International Business Council

Recognizing the significant role that international trade plays in Pennsylvania’s economy, and more concretely in the Lehigh Valley, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce launched in January its newest initiative, the International Business Council (IBC).

A recent report from the U.S. Department of Commerce indicates that in 2013 Pennsylvania’s exports totaled $40.9 billion, of which a combined 78% went to Canada, Mexico, China, the Netherlands and Germany. Pennsylvania export statistics for 2012 show that the Lehigh Valley MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) recorded exports with a value of $2.9 billion, the third largest figure in the state after Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. It is estimated that one in five jobs in Pennsylvania are connected to exports of goods and services.

The objective of the IBC is to become a leading information and networking forum to promote international trade opportunities in the Lehigh Valley. IBC will provide educational opportunities through seminars and presentations, networking opportunities, participation in trade missions and foreign trips (see the Panama trip ad on page 9), cultural awareness and assistance for international contacts. Our partners are companies already doing international trade or considering entering an import / export business or foreign joint-venture, economic development groups, business departments of colleges and universities, foreign government trade organizations and the U.S. and Pennsylvania Departments of Commerce.

The IBC has been well received by the local business community. Under the leadership of Alvaro A. Diaz and the IBC Advisory Committee, the Council has an ambitious program of activities for this year. Additional information on these will be released in future issues of “Connections” and email blasts. The Council can be reached by contacting alvarod@lehighvalleychamber.org, 610-554-4461 or sandras@lehighvalleychamber.org, 484-862-7428.

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