The Oklahoma Governor’s International Team has three primary focuses in developing commercial, diplomatic and cultural ties between the Sooner State and partners around the globe. While higher level business and governmental relations form a core part of these relations, the foundations of many international partnerships begin on campus at Oklahoma’s many universities.

Friendships and opportunities to meet those from different cultures and backgrounds are a vital part of developing an international Oklahoma, and there are few better arenas to foster those interactions than in classrooms, dorm rooms and college libraries.

OKGIT member Mark Stansberry’s recent op-ed in The Oklahoman notes the vital role that the state’s regional university system plays in helping develop Oklahoma’s workforce and society. Stansberry, of Edmond, is chairman of The GTD Group and chairman of the Regional University System of Oklahoma Board of Regents.

“As the largest four-year university system in the state, RUSO governs six public universities: East Central University in Ada, Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford and the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. Combined, they enroll more than 40,000 students who come from diverse geographical and economic backgrounds. Many don’t fit the narrow definition of “traditional college student.”

Read Mark Stansberry’s full op-ed at The Oklahoman here.

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation is battling a nationwide problem with a global solution.

Loss of manufacturing has affected cities, states and tribal nations across the United States. Younger people are leaving their homes to look for better work or settling for jobs with lower wages. As a result, economies in those regions have lagged.

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation and the surrounding area are no different.

James Collard, the nation’s tribal economic development director, said the answer lies in expanding the potential client pool, which comes naturally to his community.

“Historically, many of the tribes, particularly Citizen Potawatomi Nation, have been traders for hundreds and hundreds of years,” he said. “The notion of trade is in the DNA, in a sense.”

That’s why the nation began working on Iron Horse, an industrial park that replaced a cornfield blanketing 400 acres off Interstate 40 and U.S. Highway 177. The area held more than productive soil. A Union Pacific railroad runs through the middle of it.

“It just seemed to make sense,” Collard said. “The railroad runs literally right through the park. We believe in freight rail, and it is coming back. These kinds of parks can serve as a main to bring the manufacturing back that has been lost.”

Collard said this project’s return on investment is significantly higher than that of retail and other development.

“It comes down to multipliers,” he said. “Different jobs have different values.”

Collard based this value on the ability each new job has to spur more new jobs. Four new retail positions are required to trigger demand for one more job, he said. Those numbers are reversed in manufacturing. A single manufacturing job will create four to five non-manufacturing jobs, he said.

Years before tribal officials began marketing the site, they had to determine its target market. Collard said it was a good time to fall back on the tribe’s roots. They considered the long-term implications.

“It might be a way to reconnect with that emphasis on trade,” he said.

The site received its foreign trade zone designation in 2014, allowing the tribe to market several duty breaks to foreign manufacturers. Companies using the site will see duty exemptions on imported raw materials and outgoing waste and other materials. They won’t face tariffs on goods they sell to the U.S. in both public and private sectors. Users would also see fewer regulations on storage time processes.

“The cost savings are enormous,” Collard said.

Matthew Weaver is the director of marketing and business development for Foreign Trade Zone 106. The organization covers 22 counties and acts as a liaison between organizations seeking the designation and the federal government.

He said Iron Horse has a magnet site designation. Instead of seeking the designation for one specific site for a specific use, the Citizen Potawatomie Nation sought the designation for a whole park.

Companies would still have to go through an activation process, but operating on a tract that is already designated simplifies that process. Companies don’t have to seek activation if they build in Iron Horse, but it’s available.

“That’s just something that’s available in Citizen Potawatomie Nation’s toolkit,” Weaver said. “It’s a value added that (the tribe) can say, ‘We’re serious about businesses located here, and we’re sophisticated enough to know this is a major incentive.’”

Kyle Dean is an economics professor and the director of the Center for Native American & Urban Studies at Oklahoma City University. He studies the economic impact tribes have on the state.

He said the Citizen Potawatomi park’s success could bleed into other parts of the state. As nearby cities such as Dallas and Oklahoma City grow toward each other, the surrounding area tends to benefit as well, and that could increase interest in Iron Horse.

“I have high hopes for this,” he said. “I think it’s going to be good for the metro.”

Originally posted on http://www.ironhorsecpn.com/cpn-seeks-trade-boost-iron-horse-industrial-park/.

The below is a summary of the July 18, 2017 meeting of the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team. It is not intended to serve as a detailed summary of events, those will be reflected in the meeting minutes that will be distributed ahead of the September 19, 2017 meeting.

The dates are set for the 2017 Oklahoma Consular Summit. From September 6-7, the OKGIT will host consuls from the following countries at an evening reception (likely at the Skirvin or Petroleum Club) and a luncheon at the Governor’s Pavilion on September 7. Honorary consuls and those with contacts to consul generals in the following countries, please contact those officials to give them a firm date. An official invite to the following countries will be coming soon from the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s office. Any information or questions need to be directed to Jim Collard and Chris Morriss.

  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • Australia
  • France
  • Spain
  • Switzerland

The group agreed to invite the state’s newest consular official from Guatemala to the event, but will hold a later reception or event welcoming him to the state.

Several OKGIT members were recognized for recent awards or nominations they received. OKGIT members Brenda Jones Barwick of Jones PR and University of Oklahoma Professor Evelyn Aswad on being named as members of the 2017 Global Class of Citizens by the World Experiences Foundation. The reception will take place September 9, 2017 at the Embassy Suites in downtown OKC. Jamie Cummings from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture noted her department’s activities, as well as the recent award ODA received as a result of the Jelly Making Trails campaign.

Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s Jesse Garcia reported that Luis Domenech (Oklahoma’s trade representative to Mexico) will be in Oklahoma on the week of October 8, 2017 and will be available to meet with businesses in OKC and Tulsa.

Chris Morriss from the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s office reported on upcoming delegation visits from countries including South Korea and Indonesia.

Scott Meacham of i2e gave a presentation to the group about his organization’s role in developing businesses and economic development potential with foreign firms in Oklahoma.

Executive Director John VanPool notified the group that he would be resigning his position effective August 1, 2017 and would transfer all OKGIT work and information – including the website, social media accounts and the PO Box – to the executive committee.

The group’s next meeting will be Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 9 a.m. at the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (1141 N Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73104). OSSM has graciously offered to host a lunch for out attendees, so we must have RSVPs for all our regular members who plan to attend and any guests they may invite! Tulsa-area members will have a video conference connection at 36 Degrees North (36 E Cameron St, Tulsa, OK 74103). Our guest speaker will be Patrick Fitzgerald.

In another fantastic globaltrade.net round up, potential for partnerships with Germany and Oklahoma-based firms are great.

According to a recent release from the Federation of International Trade Professionals, “The United States are the second biggest destination for German goods after the European Union and the United States are the fourth largest supplier of Germany. The U.S.-German Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation guarantees investors in Germany national treatment and allows the free movement of capital between the United States and Germany. Taxation of US firms within Germany is regulated by a protocol on the avoidance of double taxation.

“According to U.S. Census data, trade in goods between the United States and Germany totaled $163.5 billion in 2016.”

For Oklahoma-based firms, producers and manufacturers, there are great commercial opportunities in health, food, agricultural machinery and bio-tech sectors.

In Oklahoma, a great asset is our honorary consular corps, with Germany’s Honorary Consul, Jeremy Tubb a great resource for those wanting to connect with Germany.

Check out the full export and commercial guide for Oklahoma companies here.

Despite a recent economic downturn, Oklahoma continues to position itself well for business, according to a recent survey compiled by Chief Executive magazine. Its annual Best & Worst States for Business Ranking, which is compiled from surveys of chief executive officers, shows Oklahoma at No. 17, up one from 2016 and up from No. 21 in 2008.

The state received above-average scores when it comes to taxation and regulation (6.82 out of 10); workforce quality (6.63 out of 10) and living environment (6.69 out of 10). Oklahoma’s position as a right-to-work state was also mentioned in the findings.

“We are constantly working to promote Oklahoma as a desirable place for business, and to further strengthen our business climate,” said Governor Mary Fallin. “States like California, New York and Illinois find themselves among the worst states for business according to CEOs. Issues like high taxes, governmental red tape and increasing regulations are making it hard for businesses to operate in these places. Oklahoma has the opportunity to showcase our strengths and set ourselves apart.”

In addition to the rankings, Chief Executive highlighted other specific areas of interest, including Top 10 States for High-Tech. Oklahoma is ranked No. 10 in that category.

After more than two decades of existence, the leaders of the U.S., Canada and Mexico are open to updating the free-trade agreement to stay caught up with the digital age. President Donald Trump notified Congress on May 18 of its intent to renegotiate NAFTA, which triggered a 90-day period before negotiations with Canada and Mexico begin. In an effort to hear from Oklahoma businesses, farmers and manufacturers who will be impacted.

According to the U.S. Commercial Service, comments on a total of seventeen topics will help inform the direction, focus, and content of the NAFTA negotiations include:

  • Digital Trade
  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • Regulatory Practices
  • State-Owned Enterprises
  • Services
  • Customs Procedures
  • Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
  • Labor
  • Environment
  • Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Directions for submitting comments via the Federal Register Notice:

  1. Visit www.regulations.gov and search for docket number USTR-2017-0006
  2. Click the “Comment Now!” button to make your voice heard

Written comments must be submitted to the U.S. Trade Representative no later than Monday, June 12, 2017. A hearing will be held on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at 9:00 am, in the Main Hearing Room at the U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E St. SW, Washington DC, 20436. Persons wishing to testify orally at the hearing must provide written notification of their intention by Monday, June 12, 2017.

The TPP may be dead as far as American involvement is concerned, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t numerous trade and commercial opportunities available for Oklahoma firms interested in doing business in Asia.

The latest Federation of International Trade Associations report on Vietnam is out, and it has identified several sectors key to growth for Oklahoma companies.

Opportunities for business can be found in information technologies, transportation infrastructures as well as healthcare and pharmaceuticals. An English-language export information outlet has also been set up, making for updated and easily viewable information on Vietnamese exports. The Vietnam Export Portal is an official business information channel, updated in English with the aim to introduce export potentials of Vietnam.

For our farming and Oklahoma agriculture professionals, Vietnam is growing as a reliable export market for agriculture related products. It now ranks as the U.S.’s 11th largest agricultural export market – and as economic growth picks up there the country’s need to import all or most of its consumption needs for wheat, cotton, wood and dairy products will be increasingly necessary.

Read the full report on Vietnam export opportunities here.

The much vaunted special relationship between the United Kingdom and United States is exemplified in many sectors, from security and defense to economic, cultural and linguistic ties. The U.K. is the U.S.’s fifth largest trading partner and remains the fifth largest global economy. As Brexit negotiations commence, there may be an opportunity for deeper Anglo-American ties in the economic and bi-lateral trade, where the latest census data shows that in 2016 alone trade between the two nations totaled $100 billion.

Oklahoma exporters in sectors like aerospace and agriculture are especially poised to benefit from greater trade ties with British customers.

The Federation of International Trade Associations released a market background feature on the U.K. that provides a wealth of information for those Oklahoma firms interested in exploring opportunities in Great Britain.

In an effort to better connect our members, we wanted to send out a brief, unofficial report on May 16’s meeting. This does not supplant nor replace the minutes, which will be distributed closer to our July 18, 2017 meeting.

Due to a scheduling conflict we held our meeting at the new offices of Catholic Charities OKC, where their Executive Director Patrick Raglow welcomed the OKGIT to their Chickasaw Conference Center and gave a brief summary of his organization’s work in the community. Learn more about Catholic Charities OKC here, and contact them if you’re in need of a meeting place in central OKC, their venue is top notch and very affordable.

After a brief discussion on the professional backgrounds and qualifications, the group voted on new members. The OKGIT’s newest members are Jane Kuchko, Vice-Provost for Global Education at the University of Tulsa, and Peggy Millikin, a registered patent and trademark attorney with extensive experience in international and national intellectual property law.

Representative Travis Dunlap joined the meeting and discussed the April 2017 International Day at the Capitol, which was ultimately cancelled due to construction at the state capitol building. Further discussions will be held closer to next year’s event for better coordination and preparation between Rep. Dunlap’s office, the OK Secretary of State’s office and the OKGIT.

Oklahoma Consular Corps Representative Rico Buchli noted that Edmond is in the process of solidifying a sister city agreement with a Chinese municipality of Qingyang, which will hopefully be finalized later this year.

Representatives from the U.S. Department of Trade, Oklahoma Department of Commerce and Oklahoma Department of Education gave updates on their offices’ respective work and events in the coming summer months. For a listing of these events, please see our OKGIT calendar by clicking here.

Recently appointed Oklahoma Secretary of State Dave Lopez joined the meeting as the invited guest speaker, giving a summation of his recent work and plans for the rest of his term that runs until 2018. After discussing the ongoing budget negotiations at the capitol as the legislative session closed, Secretary Lopez also mentioned research his office had conducted for apprenticeship programs available in Oklahoma. The list of these programs can be found here.

Chris Morriss, chief of protocol in the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s office, mentioned that Guatemala will have an honorary consul in Oklahoma City in the coming year.

The group also agreed on an initial guest list for the September 6-7 Oklahoma Consular Summit for 2017. The initial guest list was decided due to existing trade and commercial relationships between Oklahoma and these nations.

  • Canada
  • U.K.
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • Ireland
  • Switzerland
  • Australia
  • Italy
  • France

The OKGIT will hold its next bi-monthy meeting: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 at 9 a.m. at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

If you are or know of a member that is not receiving emails or is not on the membership section of the website, please email me at info@okgit.com or theokgit@gmail.com

At the recent Oklahoma Governor’s International Team meeting on May 16, Oklahoma Secretary of State Dave Lopez noted the opportunities available for those seeking work via apprenticeships in firms and government programs based in the state. Indeed, the need for such training positions looks likely to increase as the American economy works through the structural changes impacting so many current and future employees.

According to a piece by Melanie Dunn in Forbes, there is a growing need for apprenticeships in the American economy.

“Today there are nearly 5.5 million jobs that can’t be filled. The reason that they can’t be filled is that employers can’t find people with the right credentials to do the work. And job openings like this will continue to grow. Between now and 2030 it’s estimated that 50 million Baby Boomers will retire. And we have no plan for how to replace them. Another estimated 25 million new jobs will be created due to technological advancements.

“The fact is, we make it hard to get to work in this country. The economy has changed. Most people cannot afford college and drop out, 3.5 million per year (data calculated from National Center for Education Statistics, 2012). That’s 750,000 more than graduate with associate’s and bachelor’s degrees combined. The job market has changed. Today 60% of the job market is for jobs that require some education beyond high school but not four-year academic degrees.”

In Oklahoma there are numerous opportunities for apprenticeships, and here are a few resources domestically as well as some available with international firms.

According to the Dunn article, Australia, Canada and western European nations made significant steps in finding opportunities for those seeking stable employment without the requirement of a four year degree via apprenticeship programs. Here are a few examples.