National Think Tanks Point to PA as Way for Other States to Boost Exports, Create Jobs

Harrisburg– Two leading think tanks are highlighting Pennsylvania’s export strategy as an example of how other states can benefit when they help companies find new markets, increase sales and create more jobs.

The Brookings Institute and Rockefeller Center’s “Boosting Exports, Delivering Jobs and Economic Growth” report says Pennsylvania has enjoyed success because it has “a successful performance measurement program” that helps to ensure programs are delivering results.

“We’re very pleased that Brookings highlighted Pennsylvania as a success story and recognizes that the Corbett administration has positioned the commonwealth on solid ground with its export strategies,” said Department of Community and Economic Development acting Secretary C. Alan Walker. “By listening to what Pennsylvania companies want, we are able to help them achieve impressive results.”

The state’s World Trade PA program helps Pennsylvania companies find new markets in other countries and helps foreign companies find locations in Pennsylvania to grow their businesses in North America.

Despite a sagging economy in 2009-10, World Trade PA, which is housed in DCED, registered state-assisted export sales of $483 million and foreign direct investment of $161 million for a total impact of $644 million, or $71 million more than the previous fiscal year. Last year, the program supported 6,400 Pennsylvania jobs and generated $63 million in state and local tax receipts.

According to Brookings, Pennsylvania’s performance measurement system “has paid off in terms of return on state investment.”

“We are helping Pennsylvania companies find new markets in other countries because we set goals and listen to them,” said DCED Deputy Secretary for International Business Development Wilfred Muskens. “Our level of performance shows that our strategy is working.”

Twice a year, state officials meet with Pennsylvania organizations involved in export assistance, such as the U.S. Export Assistance Center, Small Business Development Center, and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry, to coordinate efforts and avoid overlap.

In addition, the commonwealth has published a “Pennsylvania Guide to Exporting” to give companies a list of contacts and resources for getting started in expanding their businesses outside of the United States.

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