June 30, 2017

The Columbus region will join seven other metropolitan areas as part of a Brookings Institution effort to study effective trade strategies both globally and regionally.

Columbus was picked to join the study group through a competitive application process, according to Columbus 2020, and will work with the other metro areas and Brookings to assess trade strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities and potential partnerships.

The trade-focused effort is the latest phase of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase’s Global Cities Initiative, which aims to boost awareness about the power global economic connections can have on metropolitan regions when it comes to job growth.

Columbus, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Louisville/Lexington, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, and Wichita will dig into their own markets and potential collaborations by testing what Brookings describes as new evidence-based methodology to determine trends, market connections and international trade models. The results will then be used on Brookings’ work with other regions.

“Even with strong trade and investment strategies, all metros face resource and capacity constraints to engaging internationally. In the global market haystack, metros need tools to focus on where they are most likely to find the needles,” Marek Gootman, a Brookings fellow and its director of strategic partnerships and global initiatives, said in a press release. “We selected this diverse group of metros to test new approaches to identify, prioritize and structure economic connections with specific foreign counterparts for maximum returns.”

“By helping our companies find new markets while also attracting foreign-owned companies to the area, we grow the economy and become a more diverse and dynamic community,” Columbus 2020 CEO Kenny McDonald said in the release.

Columbus 2020 in 2015 released a Columbus Global Connect plan that identified objectives focused on increasing foreign direct investment in the region, including goals to become one of the top 25 metropolitan areas in export value by 2020 and to increase the foreign investment pipeline to a 50 percent share of active projects.

“As our metro area has grown, our focus on international economic connections has grown with it,” said Corrine Burger, Chase’s chief control officer and a member of the Columbus 2020 board. “The global economic opportunities are great for our local businesses and all residents.”