Portland, Oregon is the latest US city to join the Global Cities Initiative, a five-year project by the Brookings Institute and JPMorgan Chase. The goal of the project is to help leaders in US metropolitan areas reorient their economies toward greater engagement in world markets through trade and expanded FDI opportunities.

“Brookings found, while working with other metropolitan areas, that the relationships and connections that are made with exports also translate into FDI opportunities,” reported Chris Harder, economic development director, Portland Development Commission (PDC).

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While communities such as Portland are actively involved in trade missions that connect regional businesses with companies overseas, Mr Harder emphasised that many of those same companies with which Oregon firms connect with are interested in investing in the Portland region. “By combining export with FDI, we find a more comprehensive global trade strategy,” he said.

The metro FDI pilot is the next phase of the initiative’s exchange, a network of metropolitan areas committed to establishing actionable plans that will promote greater global trade and economic competitiveness. Other cities involved in the initiative are Columbus, Ohio; Minneapolis-­St Paul, Minnesota; San Antonio, Texas; San Diego, California; and Seattle,Washington.

“For this pilot, we selected metro areas that are committed to attracting and leveraging FDI as part of a comprehensive global trade and investment strategy,” said Brad McDearman, Brookings fellow and director of metro trade and investment.

Greater Portland was selected for its readiness and commitment to strategically pursue FDI such as greenfield expansions, mergers and acquisitions, and other types of foreign investment including equity joint ventures, and sovereign wealth funds.

“Our current work with exports has revealed significant interest throughout the world in both Portland companies and our way of life, with the Daimler Trucks North America $150m investment our most recent example,” said Patrick Quinton, PDC executive director. “The Global Cities Initiative is an outstanding opportunity to develop innovative strategies that will help grow foreign investment and local jobs.”