Press Releases

Columbus, OH – Today, at its Investor Update, Columbus 2020 released Columbus Global Connect, a global trade and investment plan that sets goals and actions for increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) and exports, and includes policy recommendations for improving the Columbus Region's global business climate. The Columbus Global Connect plan updates and supersedes the Metropolitan Export Initiative plan released in April 2014.

Columbus 2020 created the plan as part of its participation in the Global Cities Initiative (GCI), 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 its Exchange, a peer learning network.

"After the Great Recession, smart economic development leaders are reorienting their efforts from a one-dimensional focus on domestic business attraction, toward a broader array of strategic growth initiatives that include global opportunities," said Brad McDearman, Brookings fellow and director of global special projects. "With this global trade and investment plan, Columbus is developing an economic strategy focused on long-term growth and competitiveness for the Region and its firms."

With 79 percent of global GDP growth projected to occur outside the U.S. between 2013 and 2018, trade has emerged as key to high-quality economic growth. Meanwhile, foreign direct investment has proven to support strong regional economies not only by providing capital, but also by investing in workers, strengthening global connections and sharing best business practices; yet the U.S. share of global FDI has fallen from 26 percent in 1999 to 12 percent in 2012. These market opportunities make it imperative for the Columbus Region to implement a global trade and investment plan to stay competitive in the globalized, metro-driven economy.

Detailed market assessments for exports and FDI were conducted as part of the Columbus Global Connect plan development, which included in-person meetings and an online survey of 135 companies that currently export or are likely to export in the near future, as well as companies that provide services to exporters. The FDI market assessment included in-depth interviews with 28 foreign-owned companies in the Columbus Region. Those assessments identified key findings in each area, leading to the following objectives:

  • Become one of the top 25 metropolitan areas in export value by 2020.
  • Generate 50 referrals annually to introduce current exporters and ready-to-export companies to export-related services.
  • Increase FDI pipeline from 40 percent share of active projects (38-42 percent range in past 12 months) to a 50 percent share by 2020. This entails 12 to 17 additional FDI projects in the pipeline.
  • Diversify FDI from 40 percent non-Japanese share of FDI announcements (2011-2014 YTD) to 55 percent in 2015-2020. Projects will include greenfield as well as those that emerge in response to M&A interest or activity.

"Columbus is already hard at work to realize its potential in the global market, and the release of this revised Global Trade & Investment Strategy only adds to the Region's strength," said James Malz, president, Ohio Market, JPMorgan Chase & Co. "We are proud to partner with Columbus 2020 to expand exports, attract foreign direct investment and take the Region's global strategy to the next level."

About Columbus 2020
In 2010, hundreds of community and business leaders from across Central Ohio came together in an unprecedented way to develop the Columbus 2020 Regional Growth Strategy, an aggressive, decade long plan to ensure economic vitality in the Columbus Region. Columbus 2020's mission is to generate opportunity and build capacity for economic growth across the 11-county Columbus Region. The Columbus 2020 team conducts business outreach to economic base companies, promotes the Columbus Region to market-leading companies around the world, conducts customized research to better understand the Columbus Region's competitiveness, and works to leverage public, private and institutional partnerships. Learn more at