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Georgia’s Record-Breaking Trade Built on Strong International Ties

Editor’s note: This sponsored article was provided by the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s International Trade Division and published via its annual partnership with Global Atlanta.

The State of Georgia is producing record-breaking economic development and trade numbers in recent years despite a global pandemic that has stifled growth in other locations.

In April, Governor Brian Kemp announced that job creation and investments resulting from economic development projects in the state during the first nine months of the fiscal year had already surpassed fiscal year 2021 year-end totals.

In January and February 2022 alone, Georgia’s total trade with the world was $28.8 billion, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) International Trade team. Georgia exports topped $6.9 billion in the first two months of 2022 and saw an increase of 9 percent compared to the same period in 2021, another high-water mark for the period.

These results did not come overnight. They have been fostered through international relationships and long-term investment in impactful partnerships. Trade and connectivity are two examples of a variety of factors that have contributed to Georgia’s culture, education, diversity and business success.

The Value of Trade

Rising international trade is a major benefit to Georgia’s economy. According to business round tableit’s 2022 How Georgia’s Economy Benefits from Trade and Investment fact sheet, international trade supported 1,328,100 Georgia jobs – more than one in five in 2019. The study also found that trade-related jobs grew four times faster than total employment from 1992 to 2019.

Prior to the pandemic, Georgia exported to 212 countries and territories, with Canada, Mexico and Germany ranking among the top markets for Georgia-made goods. Free trade agreements (FTAs) fueled rapid export growth, and two of Georgia’s leading customers are FTA partners. In 2019, 40 percent of Georgia’s goods exports went to FTA partners, and Georgia exports to FTA partners increased by 42 percent between 2010 and 2019.

Cultivating Relationships Leads to Growth

Canada is the largest export market for the state, and exports from Georgia to Canada have grown 37 percent in the last 20 years. Further, the state’s commercial partnership with Canada is truly reciprocal. According to Ludovic Ortuno, Managing Director of Georgia’s Canada Office, Canada sells more to Georgia than it does to all of Mexico. GDEcD’s Canada team helps 100 Georgia small businesses a year export to Canada on average. The Canada Office offers services including providing market reports, identifying potential partners or end users, and connecting potential exporters with business prospects interested in Georgia products and services.

“Our biggest achievement has been connecting Georgia exporters with great partners. It’s not a business of volume, but a business of quality,” says Mr. Ortuno. “It always boils down to finding that great partner who will make a difference for you. We’ve been able to do that for a few companies, like Crafted Brands and The Bastille.”

Crafted Brands and La Bastille are only two examples of successful growth across the Canadian-US border. Pain Care Labs, an industry leader in noninvasive pain relief established in 2006, has been working with the GDEcD Trade team since 2009. In 2016, the company connected with the Canada Office to plan its market entry strategy. Over the last five years, the Canada team provided reports regarding medical device registration, established contacts with Health Canada authorities, and provided research to help Pain Care Labs understand classification rules and requirements to receive medical device certification. After receiving its Medical Device License in Fall 2021, Pain Care Labs has exported its pain relief devices to hospitals, clinicians and consumers across its target market.

Fisher Connectors, a Swiss multinational corporation with North American headquarters in Georgia, first connected with the GDEcD Trade team and Canada Office in 2020. GDEcD’s team helped the company better understand their industry ecosystem in Canada through an initial market assessment, which included product opportunities, competition and potential barriers. Next came success! GDEcD’s curated list of target prospects and introductory meetings led to new sales for Fischer Connectors in the Canadian market.

A History of Collaboration

As part of a shared commitment to promoting trade and commercial opportunities between Canada and the Southern states, the Southeast US-Canadian Provinces (SEUS-CP) Alliance was established in 2007. SEUS-CP hosts an annual conference that brings together economic development, business and innovation leaders from Alliance members for a robust B2B matchmaking program. The Alliance includes AlabamaGeorgian, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolinaand Tennessee from the US, as well as New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and quebec, from Canada. the 2022 SEUS-CP Conference will be held at the Savannah Convention Center from June 19-21.

Georgia has been represented in Canada since 1981, and GDEcD’s main office is located in Montreal, Quebec. In 2021, GDEcD estimates that total trade between Georgia and Canada was $11.16 billion, a 16% increase from the previous year.

Georgia exports to Canada increased by 17 percent compared to 2020, accounting for a total of $6.18 billion. Top exports to Canada include motor vehicles, tractors, bulldozers, carpets, and civilian aircraft. Automotive is a key industry in Georgia-Canada trade, and representatives from Canada have been outspoken in support for this major Georgia industry and the growing electric vehicle ecosystem. Georgia leads the nation in the export of carpets, poultry and peanut products to Canada. To learn more about Georgia’s trade with Canada and other countries, visit https://www.georgia.org/international/trade/annual-trade-report.

About GDEcD’s International Trade Team

GDEcD’s nationally recognized International Trade team is committed to creating opportunities for Georgia businesses to increase exports across the world through meaningful partnerships, unique international connections, and expansive export resources. GDEcD’s export team works in all industry sectors statewide and provides unbiased, solutions-focused trade consultations to Georgia companies seeking to expand their global presence. For additional information about the state’s International Trade team, visitwww.georgia.org/international/trade.

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