In his book “The World Is Flat,” Thomas Friedman writes about globalization, a process in which diverse economies from distant regions of the world are coming together in a single global economy. It is commonly accepted that we live in a globalized world, where the most recent advances in technology enable instant information exchange and communication, efficient bulk transportation of goods and services and worldwide adoption of the universal financial instruments. Globalization brings growing awareness of the common problems that have to be solved on a global scale. And whether it is drastic changes in weather patterns, environmental pollution or shortage of water, globalization makes leaders come together in international task forces and action committees to form multi-lateral agreements and resolutions.
However, we should not forget that underneath the layers of global issues requiring attention from the global community at large, there are many issues that have to be solved on a more regional basis. Because not all regions of the world are equally equipped with financial resources or know-how, even in a globalized world it all comes down to relationships and a friendly handshake, which sharpens the sense of responsibility in each partner for their counterpart.
It is that sense of responsibility that drives people to look further than just a commonly accepted solution for a problem, to find uniquely fitting creative ideas and ways to implement them to help their friends in need. By increasing the number of opportunities for such committed relationships, organizations can facilitate transition of less-developed communities from the status of humanitarian aid recipients to fully engaged contributors in their own wellbeing. This applies, by extension, to their local economies as a way of continually improving the world we live in.
While many large organizations have key connections and clout in business circles around the world, many small- to medium-sized businesses do not. That is why the World Trade Center in Utah is committed to bringing people from different regions of the world together, one handshake at a time.
Some trade missions are seen as cleverly orchestrated publicity events for the governments of these states and countries, but Utah and its team has created worthwhile and prosperous trips for the countries and businesses involved. One such example is the World Trade Centers recent trade mission with Peru.
Even though Peru is an emerging economy, its steady annual growth has shown it is serious about expanding and growing its economy. Since 2002, the country has grown on average 6.4 percent in relevant industries to Utah, including technology services, energy and natural resources and life sciences. With so many opportunities, leaders from each of Peru’s regional and municipal governments flew to Lima last fall to participate.
Officials from Peru and Utah signed a memorandum of understanding to “establish concerted actions in sustainable economic development for years to come,” said Harvey Scott, Director of International Trade and Diplomacy for Utah’s Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The memorandum has helped facilitate higher education exchanges. One of the key issues is helping Peru with sustainable models for technology and infrastructure through the help of research and innovation. Universities in Utah and Peru are collaborating on this initiative.
The World Trade Center in Utah has also completed several trade missions within the last year in Israel, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, China, Brazil, Colombia and, in early April, to Mexico, to which Utah exported roughly $550 million in goods and services to in 2013. This mission successfully helped to expand business relations with three Utah-headquartered businesses.
Looking further, the World Trade Center in Utah is working on trade missions to Ghana, Senegal, Romania, Belarus and the Middle East. As long as there is use for outside markets to increase trade and development, the World Trade Center will continue to create trade missions that not only garner business opportunities but educational ties as well. One highlight of the trade missions is the opportunities to help institute programs that garner sustainable activities that will help each host country with issues like clean air and water.