Governor Martin O'Malley will join more than 350 Maryland business leaders tonight at the 16th Annual World Trade Center Institute's International Business Leadership Awards and announce that Maryland's trade exports climbed seven percent in 2011 to $10.8 billion -- a figure that nearly reaches a State export high of $11.4 billion in 2008 and shows a recovery to pre-recession levels. Trade with China and India -- among the countries targeted as part of the State's trade missions last year -- also increased, with exports to China --Maryland's second largest trading partner -- rising by $93 million, and exports to India growing by $20 million. Non-railway vehicles topped the list of commodities exported from the State last year with more than $1.7 billion going overseas, and exports of mineral fuel and oil nearly doubled to $661 million.
"The increase in exports in 2011 to near pre-recession levels is a clear indicator that Maryland is continuing to stimulate our economy by exploring new markets for trade and investment," said Governor O'Malley. "Ultimately, our strength and global competitiveness depend on our willingness to make the modern investments that a modern economy requires to create jobs."
Tonight, Governor O'Malley will present the Governor's International Award to Frank Burch, Global Co-Chairman of DLA Piper who led the evolution of the former Piper & Marbury, a regional firm with 250 lawyers, to DLA Piper, a top-10 global legal practice with 4,200 lawyers in 30 countries. In addition to the Governor's Award, there are also six awardees of WTCI's International Business Leadership Awards: Mei Xu, creator and president of Chesapeake Bay Candle; James Boomgard, president and CEO of Development Alternatives Inc.; Vinita Gupta, CEO of Lupin Pharmaceuticals; Captain Ahmed Khan, president of NSCSA America; Paul Reed Smith, managing general partner of Paul Reed Smith Guitars; and Titus Beitzel, manager of operations for Beitzel/Pillar Innovations. Two of the award winners -- Mei Xu and Paul Reed -- were featured in the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development's award-winning Maryland of Opportunity ad campaign, which promotes successful entrepreneurs in the State.
Governor O'Malley will also give an update on the Maryland Export Initiative, which was launched two years ago to compliment President Obama's National Export Initiative with the goal of helping small businesses boost exports and take advantage of global trade opportunities. Last year, Maryland was awarded a $585,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to increase the number and amount of Export MD grants, a State program that provides funding to small and mid-sized businesses to help them market their products and services overseas. The State also received a $100,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to help establish the Western Maryland Export Initiative, which provides funding to help small and mid-sized businesses in the Appalachian region with export assistance. The initiative funds a training class for businesses on exporting and helps cover the costs associated with overseas trade shows, with the goal of boosting the number of Appalachian companies that export.
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.
Last May, Governor O'Malley led a trade mission to China, South Korea and Vietnam, which netted more than $85 million in trade and investment deals for Maryland and Maryland companies. The wins included a $40 million investment by Tasly Group, one of China's leading biopharmaceutical companies, which plans to locate in a new 443,000 square foot production facility and training center at Shady Grove Life Sciences Center in Montgomery County and create dozens of jobs as they prepare for Phase III clinical trials of their traditional Chinese medicine product Compound Danshen Dripping Pills (CDDP) developed to treat and prevent coronary disease. Recently, Premier Rides, a Baltimore-based designer and manufacturer of theme park attractions, announced it was selected to create the world's tallest indoor roller coaster, which will be part of the Great Mall of China near Beijing slated to open in 2013. The deal was a direct result of the mission, which Premier Rides' CEO Jim Seay participated in.
A trade mission to India in November, which was led by Governor O'Malley and included more than 100 participants -- marking the largest foreign trade delegation in State history --, resulted in nearly $60 million in business deals. Two Indian companies announced investments and plans to create jobs in Maryland, including Jubilant Life Sciences, one of India's top pharmaceutical and life sciences companies with a drug manufacturing facility in Salisbury, which plans to invest $20 million to triple its warehouse space on the Eastern Shore and add new jobs. In addition, eight Maryland businesses inked deals with Indian partners during the mission.
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