Companies Find Global Growth Opportunities with Georgia’s International Trade Team
Friday, May 12th, 2023
Georgia’s status as a global gateway is a result of decades of strategic planning by Georgia leaders, starting when the state opened its first international trade offices 50 years ago this year.
This foresight, in addition to investments in logistics infrastructure, strategic worldwide partnerships, and the efforts of Georgia’s International Trade team, have proved the perfect formula for exponential trade growth in Georgia.
Another Record-Breaking Year in Trade
For the second year in a row, Georgia achieved a record-breaking year for international trade in 2022. Total trade exceeded $196 billion, an increase of 18% over 2021, across 221 countries and territories.
The state also surpassed $47 billion in exports last year, breaking the previous record by nearly $5 billion. Notably, Georgia ranks 11th in the U.S. for export value, and exported to 216 countries and territories in 2022.
The effects of this growth can be felt across the entire state, as exported products come from every county in Georgia and are representative of the state’s diverse industry mix. Communities are bolstered by trade in a big way, and small businesses make up 85% of Georgia’s exporters.
Georgia’s International Trade office offers detailed information about these record-breaking numbers and more in the 2022 International Trade Report.
One significant takeaway is how the state’s world-class logistics ecosystem helps Georgia companies stay competitive on a global scale. Georgia’s logistics assets have fueled 40% growth in bilateral trade in just the past five years. The combined assets of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the Ports of Savannah and Brunswick, and the state’s network of highways and railways help Georgia businesses move goods efficiently around the world. Home to 85% of third-party logistics (3PL) companies, Georgia is ranked No. 1 for infrastructure and access to global markets by Area Development.
Georgia is also consistently investing in capacity and infrastructure improvements to keep ahead of demand. The Georgia Ports Authority has announced $1.8 billion of planned investments in the ports this year, not including steady increases in chilled cargo capacity in Savannah.
At the 2023 Georgia Logistics Summit, hosted by the Georgia Center of Innovation, government and industry leaders highlighted the importance of Georgia’s logistics and supply chain industry, which currently contributes to one in nine jobs in Georgia.
“Our logistics assets are a critical tool in the state’s toolbox to recruit the industries of tomorrow, and it’s no surprise that job creators consistently cite our logistics network as a reason they choose Georgia,” said Governor Brian P. Kemp. “You can truly make anything here and get it to markets all over the world.”
Making Global Connections through International Representatives
The state’s Trade team includes a network of international representatives who are based in 12 global markets and solely dedicated to helping Georgia businesses expand their international reach. These export professionals provide market intelligence, customized export assistance, and other guidance to help Georgia businesses succeed abroad.
In 2022, 52% of exports and 57% of total trade involved markets where Georgia maintains full-time representation.
The state also takes every opportunity to connect these international representatives with communities on Georgia soil. For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, GDEcD in April brought 22 international representatives from across the globe to visit with the Georgia businesses and community stakeholders they work with daily. The week-long visit allowed them to better familiarize themselves with their Georgia-based coworkers through internal training and project update sessions, and visit communities so they can more effectively represent the state to their respective markets.
Award-Winning Trade Team Fosters Growth for Georgia Exporters
GDEcD’s International Trade specialists provide complimentary services to Georgia exporters who need the right connections and insights to help their business grow. Along with one-on-one export counseling, the Trade team offers opportunities to join the state at international tradeshows and events, financial assistance for trade-related activities, and provides access to partner resources developed between GDEcD and federal and regional partners.
GDEcD supports Georgia small business exporters through the Go Global Georgiainitiative, which is a competitive, reimbursement grant program for international related activities that build export capacity and promote increased global sales. From 2020-2022, the program collectively approved over 100 grant applications and reimbursed 131 Georgia exporters more than $235,000.
Georgia also presents the annual GLOBE Awards, which honors businesses that contribute to the state’s economic growth through global trade. In 2022, 25 companies earned this distinction. The companies were located all across the state, and 80% were small businesses with fewer than 100 employees worldwide. These awards underscore the incredible work being done by Georgia’s thriving exporter community: collectively, the businesses entered 70 new international markets in 2021.
For more information about how GDEcD’s Trade team helps Georgia-based businesses grow internationally, connect with them at georgia.org/international/trade.