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Kansas City Selected for Global Cities Initiative

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KANSAS CITY, MO, USA - Kansas City is joining an economic development network created by the Global Cities Initiative, a five-year joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. Launched in 2012, the Global Cities Initiative helps business and civic leaders grow their metropolitan economies by strengthening international connections and competitiveness. GCI activities include producing data and research to guide decisions, fostering practice and policy innovations, and facilitating a peer learning network. This network, the Global Cities Initiative’s Exchange, assists metropolitan areas as they develop plans to achieve sustainable growth, first addressing exports and then foreign direct investment. Kansas City will start its involvement in the Exchange by developing a metropolitan export plan in 2015.

Kansas City is one of eight metro areas accepted to the GCI Exchange’s 2015 group, the final cohort of the 28-metro-area network. The Brookings Institution selected metro areas for the Exchange through a competitive process based on their readiness and commitment to pursue the Exchange’s global competitiveness principles.

“For the Exchange, we selected metro areas that are committed to expanding their global economic reach by working together to identify regional competitive strengths and increase exports,” said Marek Gootman, director of strategic partnerships and global initiatives at Brookings. “The eight metro areas selected for this final round represent a growing group of U.S. metro areas that understand the need to embrace the global market to remain competitive in the 21st century economy.”

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As the United States struggles to recover from an outdated model of consumption and debt-driven economic development, traded sectors have emerged as key to high-quality economic growth. Rapid urbanization in mature and developing markets is creating a new consumer class, and 79 percent of global GDP growth is projected to occur outside the United States between 2013 and 2018. Meanwhile, over 40 percent of job creation comes from existing firm expansion, but only 5 percent of U.S. firms pursue a key method for business expansion—exporting. This global market opportunity paired with the benefits of firm expansion through exports makes it imperative for local economies to recognize their distinctive assets and improve global trade and investment strategies.

We’re delighted that Kansas City will be a part of this new network – it’s exactly the kind of innovative planning that is needed to ensure our community’s long-term economic success,” said Nathan Tesmer, vice president of commercial banking, JPMorgan Chase-Kansas City. “We have a long history of helping businesses connect to global markets, and now the Exchange brings additional resources to help our region’s leaders design strategies to further create jobs and grow our economy through greater global engagement.”

Kansas City will be represented in the Exchange by a team of local leaders including World Trade Center Kansas City in partnership with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and its partner agencies, Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, Kansas City Area Development Council, KC SmartPort, and Mid-America Regional Council.

“Being selected for the Global Cities Initiative is a big deal,” says Jim Heeter, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. “Consider this: about 95 percent of the world customer base is outside of the United States, yet less than one percent of America’s 30 million businesses export. That’s huge and represents untapped potential for Kansas City area businesses. This initiative will help us realize that potential.”

The other members of the new cohort include Baltimore; Fresno, Calif.; Houston; Philadelphia; Salt Lake City; Seattle; and St. Louis. They join Atlanta; Charleston, S.C.; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Fla.; Los Angeles; Louisville-Lexington, Ky.; Minneapolis-Saint Paul; Milwaukee; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif.; San Antonio; San Diego; Syracuse, N.Y.; Tampa Bay, Fla.; Upstate S.C. representing the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson CSA; and Wichita, Kan., to share best practices as they create and implement their global trade and investment strategies.

For more information on the Global Cities Initiative please visit www.brookings.edu/projects/global-cities.aspx or www.jpmorganchase.com/globalcities.

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