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Greater Portland Ambassadors meet to discuss global trade

May 05,2017 | By Adam Newman

Click here to see photos from this event.

Greater Portland Ambassadors gathered for a special event focused on foreign direct investment and its role in growing the Greater Portland economy on May 2. Representatives from companies that expanded or moved into Greater Portland were on hand to discuss their experiences in global trade and foreign direct investment as well as answer questions from Ambassadors.

The Ambassadors program cultivates a network of regional emerging leaders who raise awareness of key regional economic development issues by communicating with, educating, and informing stakeholders, policy makers, citizens and the media.

Jerry Willey, the Greater Portland Ambassadors Co-Chair and former mayor of Hillsboro, gave a brief introduction to why global trade is vital to the region’s economic prosperity. Greater Portland Inc’s Senior VP for Business Development, Matt Miller, spoke of how GPI works closely with foreign owned entities in business recruitment and retention.

The panel consisted of (left to right) David Fee of Benchmade Knife Company, Marc Meinecke of Chaucer Foods, Dillon Smith of Shimadzu, and was moderated by Mike Hurley, market president at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and GPI board vice-chair.

Fee spoke about how important it was having direct flights to foreign markets from Portland International Airport, especially when an Oregon business is operating overseas or when trying to expand foreign businesses into Greater Portland.

Meinecke said he was looking forward to expanded air freight for his products, largely freeze-dried produce, that made it easier to get his goods to purchasers in Asia.

Smith said he was keeping a close eye on potential changes to U.S. tariffs and how important it is for a foreign owned business to have access to competitive trade policies.

After the panel discussion, Doug Smith, manager of international business development at the Port of Portland, spoke about the success of the airport in integrating with the Greater Portland community and culture (yes, even the carpet). He also outlined several big changes coming in the next few years, including adding gates and a seismic restructuring of the main terminal.

The event was scheduled to align with Delta Air Lines’ gala celebrating the launch of its new, non-stop service from Portland International Airport to London Heathrow. It is the fourth non-stop flight to Europe from the region and will significantly improve travel times between the two markets. Delta has recognized the importance of the region and continues to expand its services and workforce here. Portland is the only market of its size with non-stop service to both Europe and Asia.

Learn more

Click here to learn more about the Greater Portland Ambassadors program.

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