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Top 10 FAQs

  1. What is Greater Portland Global?A global trade and investment plan, Greater Portland Global integrates exports and foreign direct investment (FDI) in one strategic plan.

    Greater Portland Global draws on the region’s work with the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. It replaces the Greater Portland Export Initiative and escalates global engagement for a stronger regional economy.

    Greater Portland Global recognizes Portland’s rich history of local innovation, exports, global excellence, and foreign direct investment as the foundation of a unique process that can propel small, innovative entrepreneurs and domestically focused companies along a continuum to become companies with global presence.

    For the Greater Portland Export Initiative, the City of Portland and the Portland Development Commission led the export strategy process, with a core team that included the Port of Portland, Greater Portland Inc, Business Oregon, the U.S. Export Assistance Center Portland, and other regional stakeholders.

    For Greater Portland Global, Greater Portland Inc and the Portland Development Commission co-led an FDI Pilot Core Team, which also included Business Oregon, the City of Hillsboro, the Port of Portland, Portland State University, and the U.S. Export Assistance Center Portland.

    In addition to the work of the strategy development teams, Greater Portland sought significant input from a wide range of public sector organizations, higher education institutions, regional decision-makers, and private sector businesses through working sessions, one-on-one meetings, and presentations to regional organizations.

  2. Why does the Greater Portland region need Greater Portland Global?Global engagement is not optional if Greater Portland is to realize economic growth and prosperity – it is imperative. Increased access to global markets and foreign investment is the most direct path for Greater Portland to create and maintain a sufficient number of quality jobs to support the region’s growing population.

    The need to embrace international markets is urgent. Approximately 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States. Over the next 5 years, 79 percent of global GDP growth is projected to occur outside the U.S.

    Fortunately, the region has within its reach the building blocks of enviable innovation, globally competitive industries, and a productive, educated and increasingly diverse workforce to compete. Greater Portland has a long history as a leading exporter and, since the 1980s, has attracted substantial foreign direct investment.

    While Portland has made progress, too few firms and industries are benefiting from global engagement, pointing to the need for a better integrated, more strategic focus on exports and FDI. 
  3. How does Greater Portland Global link to broader regional economic development efforts?Greater Portland Global is a key part of Greater Portland 2020, which is creating a new regional comprehensive economic development strategy that will be launched in fall 2015.
  4. What is an export? What is a secondary exporter?An export is a sale of products or services outside the country – anything from a truck (a product) to architectural design or advertising (services). Service exports include international students studying at any of our region’s colleges and universities or international tourists visiting the region.

    Services are an increasingly growing part of exports. While difficult to measure, the U.S. has a large trade surplus in services, as opposed to the large trade deficit in goods.

    To learn more about how exports link metro regions together, watch this short animated clip, "The New Silk Road," from the Brookings Institution here.

    secondary exporter is any business in the supply chain of a primary exporter. In other words, a business may not actually engage in exporting products themselves, but the business may produce a component of a product that is then shipped internationally by another company. The supply chain company is a secondary exporter.
  5. What are export assistance services and who provides them?Export assistance services help local businesses that sell, or wish to sell, products and services abroad. Services can range from identifying international partners to navigating documentation challenges to creating strategies and more.

    Export services in Greater Portland are provided by the U.S. Export Assistance Center Portland, Business Oregon (Oregon Business Development Department), the Washington Department of Commerce, Small Business Development Centers, local economic development professionals in the city/county where companies do business, and multiple private sector companies. Assistance is usually divided between companies that are new-to-export (NTE – first-time exporters) and those that are new-to-market (NTM – existing exporters expanding to new markets).

    In 2010, the Obama Administration made it a top priority to improve the conditions that directly affect the private sector’s ability to export by working to remove trade barriers abroad, help firms and farmers overcome hurdles to entering new markets, and assist with financing. President Obama announced the National Export Initiative (NEI) in his 2010 State of the Union address to renew and revitalize U.S. efforts to promote exports abroad.

    The Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Export Initiative, including the Greater Portland Export Initiative, aimed to implement the NEI on a metropolitan level, seeking to grow exports and improve export accessibility at the regional scale. The Obama Administration launched NEI/NEXT in 2014 to help more American companies reach overseas markets by improving data, providing information on specific export opportunities, working more closely with financing organizations and service providers, and partnering with states and communities to empower local export efforts. 
  6. How are exports critical to Greater Portland's economic growth?Exports are another way of thinking about expanding a company’s business market. Businesses within the Greater Portland region regularly sell local goods. Companies exchange products and services within the region but U.S. companies are limited by the existing Greater Portland market (and the U.S. market).

    By selling products and services abroad, companies access entirely new markets that increase sales and profits for the region. This directly translates to new business growth and job creation.
  7. What is foreign direct investment?Foreign direct investment (FDI) is an investment into production or business in a country by an individual or company of another country, either by buying a company in the target country or by expanding operations of an existing business in that country.

    Foreign direct investment is distinct from portfolio investment, which is a passive investment in the securities (stocks and bonds) of another country. (Source: Wikipedia.com)
  8. What are foreign direct investment assistance services and who provides them?Foreign direct investment assistance services help foreign businesses that are currently investing in or interested in investing in the region. Services range from business retention and expansion work with existing investors to recruitment work with potential new investors.

    Services in Greater Portland are provided by Greater Portland Inc, the U.S. Export Assistance Center Portland (representing SelectUSA), Business Oregon (Oregon Business Development Department), the Washington Department of Commerce, local economic development professionals in the city/county where companies do business, and multiple private sector companies.
  9. How is foreign direct investment critical to Greater Portland's economic growth?Foreign direct investment can potentially benefit the region in multiple ways. Because the U.S. is the world’s largest market, foreign companies want access to that market. Investing in the U.S. allows foreign companies to tap into an outstanding workforce, unique innovations, and the dynamic U.S. economy.

    When you take into account the high efficiency of the U.S. workforce, for many companies the total cost of production is lower in the U.S. than it is in countries with a lower wage rate.

    For local businesses that wish to expand but lack the necessary capital to do so, investment from a foreign partner allows the business to grow and add new jobs in the region when they could not have done so otherwise.
  10. How can I get involved?Individuals, businesses, or organizations that want to learn more or assist with the implementation of Greater Portland Global should contact Janet LaBar, President and CEO.

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