Marking one of the largest Maryland delegations on an overseas economic development mission, 68 business leaders, educators and elected officials will join Governor Martin O'Malley for 10 days in China, Korea and Vietnam, one of the world's fastest growing economic regions. The delegation, departing May 31 and returning June 11, will accompany the Governor at many of the official country banquets and events, promoting Maryland as an ideal place for foreign companies to set up U.S. operations. Many delegation members are also meeting one-one-one with potential partners in business or education in each of the countries. A complete list of delegation members is attached.
During the 10-day mission, Governor O'Malley will promote Maryland's leadership position in life sciences with two keynote addresses -- one to the 13th Shanghai BioForum, which is slated to attract more than 500 global attendees and one to the Global Bio & Medical Forum, South Korea's largest annual biopharmaceutical conference with 650 attendees. The Governor will also deliver high level speeches at the Nanjing Center at Johns Hopkins University, the first major institution in China by a U.S. university, and at Renmin University in Beijing, where he will speak on Maryland's State Stat initiative. He is also scheduled to meet with officials from China, Korea and Vietnam, preside over the signings of a number of Memorandums of Understanding to increase two-way trade and investment with the three countries and meet with companies exploring Maryland as a potential U.S. location. Among the companies Governor O'Malley will visit is Samsung, the South Korea multinational conglomerate which accounts for roughly one-fifth of the country's exports. Governor O'Malley's itinerary is attached.
"I look forward to traveling with this impressive group of Maryland business leaders, educators and elected officials as we work together to strengthen our already strong ties with China, Korea and Vietnam and also open new doors for two way trade and investment in countries that all have a rapidly growing impact on the world's economy," said Governor O'Malley. "As our economy grows ever more global, we know we must look beyond our borders for new avenues for trade and investment, particularly those where we share strengths in life sciences and technology."
"With Maryland's strength in life sciences and higher education, the potential for greater business with China and Korea is well worth in person exploration," said Jim Dinegar, President and CEO, Greater Washington Board of Trade. "Now is the time to cultivate business expansion. I commend the Governor for initiating this visit and look forward to joining him on this mission."
"The timing and purpose of this mission are ideal. An expanding China means more markets for Maryland companies, who have benefited from the pioneering vision of Maryland's public and private sector leadership," said Michael Violette, president of Washington Labs in Gaithersburg. "The Maryland-China relationship is interwoven on many levels: through mutual trade, technology-sharing and the critical dimension of personal relationships going back over 30 productive years."
"Developing personal relationships with Asian counterparts are crucial for success in doing business in the region, and that means spending quality face-to-face time on the ground in country," said Clay Hickson, Chairman Emeritus, Maryland-China Business Council and Director, TowsonGlobal Business Incubator at Towson University. "By participating in a mission such as this one, business and educational professionals not only have opportunities to make new contacts and solidify existing partnerships, they also enjoy the credibility and gravitas that being part of the Governor's delegation adds."
Maryland has long maintained a strong presence in Asia, opening the Maryland China Center in 1996 and becoming the first U.S. state to open a trade and investment office in China. The State also has trade offices in South Korea; Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam; as well as Taiwan and India. Last year, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development's Office of International Trade and Investment engaged more than 250 Asian companies, helping to attract six new foreign firms from China and Korea to Maryland. In addition, the Office assisted 75 Maryland companies export their products to Asia, helping to generate $65 million in sales.
Maryland has a growing minority community, accounting for all of the State's population growth in the past 10 years. The State's Asia population has grown by more than 50 percent since 2000, with Asian residents numbering more than 300,000.
The O'Malley-Brown Administration has taken significant steps to ramp up the State's international outreach, including opening a number of number of foreign offices in targeted countries, convening the Governor's International Advisory Council to provide strategic direction and develop a plan to enhance Maryland's global profile, expanding the capacity of the Port of Baltimore with a new 50-foot berth, and opening the State's first International Incubator in 2009 at the University of Maryland, College Park to help foreign-owned companies launch U.S. operations.
The efforts have produced significant results. Since 2007, Maryland has attracted more than 40 foreign-owned companies from high-growth countries, including China, Brazil, Korea, Russia, India, Sweden and the United Kingdom, with about one-quarter of these companies locating in the International Incubator. Companies range from Ellickson Software, an Ireland-based supplier of software and hardware to the hospitality industry which has an American location in Baltimore City, to Daewoong Pharmaceutical, the largest prescription drug supplier in Korea which has its U.S. operations in Montgomery County.
Over the past two years, the State has opened foreign offices in Russia, India and Colombia to attract foreign-owned companies to Maryland and encourage trade opportunities. The offices, which are opened on a contingency basis with no up-front cost to taxpayers, are part of the State's network of foreign offices in China (Shanghai), France (Paris), Israel (Haifa), South Korea (Seoul), Taiwan (Taipei), Vietnam (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City) and the Western Balkans (Montenegro).
Maryland is well-positioned for growth in the global market, with more than 300 foreign-owned companies from 30 countries currently calling Maryland home. Roughly 105,000 Marylanders, or 3.5 percent of the workforce, are employed by foreign-owned firms, with companies headquartered in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Germany as the top three foreign employers in Maryland.
Maryland's Office of International Investment and Trade works to stimulate foreign direct investment in the State, offers export assistance for small and mid-sized Maryland companies and coordinates international trade and investment missions and trade show opportunities for Maryland companies. For more information on resources available to business that want to market their products or services globally, visit www.choosemaryland.org