JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Jay Nixon today announced he will lead a trade delegation to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Nov. 18 to Nov. 22 to continue to drive Missouri export growth and job creation, as well as foreign investment in the Show-Me State. The announcement comes as new international trade figures show Missouri exports are on pace to set an all-time high in 2016.
The newly released figures show that through September 2016, Missouri exports reached almost $10.6 billion. That exceeds the previous January to September total of $9.9 billion in 2014, when Missouri’s annual exports reached an all-time high of just under $14.2 billion. That was an increase of 49 percent from 2009, Gov. Nixon’s first year in office, when exports were $9.5 billion.
“In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, Missouri businesses – large and small – and our skilled workforce are proving they can grow exports and reach even more consumers around the world,” Gov. Nixon said. “To continue growing Missouri jobs and strengthening our economy, we need to keep expanding our international trade efforts and reaching new customers. This trade mission will help us do that in an emerging economy that knows the quality that comes with the words ‘Made in Missouri.’”
Gov. Nixon has made increasing exports and promoting Missouri as an ideal location for investment by foreign companies a top economic development priority of his administration. Since 2009, companies from around the world have announced plans to embark on 81 new projects or expansions of operations in Missouri, resulting in a total of almost $2.1 billion in announced foreign investments and the projected creation of more than 5,400 new Missouri jobs.
Those investment projects include a ground-breaking in Riverside by Martinrea Riverside LLC on a $45.3 million automotive parts manufacturing facility creating up to 290 new advanced manufacturing jobs; the ground-breaking and a later expansion in Liberty by LMV Automotive Systems, totaling more than $90 million and projected creation of more than 300 advanced manufacturing jobs; and CertainTeed Corporation’s $100 million investment in a new roof shingles manufacturing and distribution center in Jonesburg, creating a projected 100 jobs.
In the UAE, the Governor will meet with high-ranking government officials to expand Missouri exports to the Middle Eastern nation. The UAE has developed into the Arab world’s largest export market for the United States and recently accounted for 1.6 percent of overall U.S. exports. Leading U.S. export categories to the UAE are aircraft, vehicles, electrical machinery and machinery.
The UAE was Missouri’s 22nd largest trading partner in 2015, receiving more than $76 million in Missouri goods and commodities. The largest categories of Missouri products exported to the UAE were fabricated metal products, transportation equipment, electrical equipment and appliances, machinery, computer and electronic products.
In August, Missouri was awarded a competitive grant of $634,134 from the U.S. Small Business Administration to increase the number of Missouri small businesses that export their products, especially to emerging markets. The funding from the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program focuses on helping incentivize Missouri businesses to focus their exporting targets in the Middle East.
In addition to trade discussions with government officials and businesses, Gov. Nixon will address the American Business Council of Dubai. He also will meet with top officials of the U.S. embassy in the Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Joining Gov. Nixon on the trip will be First Lady Georganne Nixon; Mike Downing, Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The Missouri delegation also will include Al Purcell, chairman of the Hawthorn Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting economic growth in Missouri;Marie Carmichael, chairwoman of the Missouri Development Finance Board; David Adkins, President and CEO of the Council of State Governments; and representatives of St. Louis University. Several Missouri businesses will also be represented, including Burns and McDonnell, of Kansas City; Holtec Gas Systems, of Chesterfield; Kit Bond Strategies, of Clayton;Premier Proteins, of Kearney; and Scienco/FAST, of Sunset Hills.
The Governor, First Lady and other members of the delegation will arrive in Dubai, UAE, on Saturday, Nov. 19 and return to the United States on Tuesday, Nov. 22. Travel costs for the Governor and Mrs. Nixon will be covered by the Hawthorn Foundation; state taxpayer funds will not be used.