WASHINGTON, D.C. | 12 June 2018 – The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) unveiled its first-ever “WTCA Trade & Investment Report: Global Connections, Local Growth” at a private event at the Foreign Policy (FP) Group Offices. The report was conducted in partnership with FP Analytics and reveals that cities are positioned to lead in this time of geopolitical turmoil by focusing on stakeholder networks, human capital and connective infrastructure.
According to the study, 71 percent of WTCA members polled believe that a significant disruption in trade and investment is likely to occur this year with investments being put on hold amid global economic uncertainty. Additional key findings include:
- Urban outperformers create cities without borders: Strategic partnerships between global and local stakeholders are the critical enabling factor for cities competing for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and seeking to expand local businesses’ access to new markets. Cities with a WTCA member on average draw FDI per capita at twice the rate of their country, and export goods at 1.55 times the national level, per capita. These thriving FDI destinations are also engines of job creation, with every USD 1B in annual FDI being associated with a 1.5 percent higher workforce participation.
- Planes, brains and connectivity: Hard infrastructure, a skilled workforce, and digital connectivity constitute core building blocks differentiating and strengthening cities’ relative competitiveness. For every 1,000 passengers transiting through an airport, one can expect a USD 7.3M increase to local GDP and a USD 30K increase in FDI inflows. Additionally, adding just 1,000 people with tertiary education to a city’s population is associated with a USD 381K increase in FDI inflows by. Among cities with below average internet penetration (less than 54.5 percent), every 10-percentage-point increase in household internet penetration was associated with an acceleration in GDP growth by more than half a percentage point.
- Small companies are big business: SMEs drive local growth and employment, constituting 50-60 percent of value added, and 70 percent of jobs in the OECD. Still, the share of SMEs engaged in international trade is typically under 10 percent, underscoring the importance of trade-related support services—like those offered by WTCA Members—to unlocking their potential and making them an economic force multiplier for cities.
“These findings show that not only do our WTCA members have their fingers on the pulse of their local economies, but they can deliver great insight into the issues impacting the larger trade and investment communities,” said Scott Ferguson, chief executive officer of the WTCA. “By leveraging our global network, members help to integrate their home cities into the international marketplace, which can have a profound positive effect on the strength and resilience of the economy by drawing Foreign Direct Investment, increasing exports and generating jobs.”
The results of the full report are available for download at www.WTCAReports.org.
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About the WTCA 2018 Trade and Investment Report
This study, conducted in partnership with the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA), is a product of original city-level data analysis, as well as polling and interviews with WTCA members around the world. Cities with a WTCA member constitute more than $26.7 trillion, or more than 35 percent of global GDP, and are home to nearly 1 billion people. Capturing insights from this unique global network of World Trade Centers (WTCs) in more than 300 cities and nearly 100 countries, this analysis seeks to shed light on how global economic trends are shaping trade and investment at the local level, and the innovative ways cities and World Trade Centers are navigating this “new normal,” building global connections to drive local growth.
About the World Trade Centers Association
The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) is a network of more than 300 highly-connected, mutually-supporting businesses and organizations in nearly 100 countries. As the owner of the “World Trade Center” and “WTC” trademarks, the WTCA licenses exclusive rights to these brands for Members to use in conjunction with their independently-owned, iconic properties, facilities and trade services offerings. Through a robust portfolio of events, programming and resources that it offers its Members, the goal of the WTCA is to help local economies thrive by encouraging and facilitating trade and investment across the globe through Member engagement. To learn more visit www.wtca.org.
 City-level data for WTCA cities include GDP, FDI inflows, exports, employment, foreign citizens, airport traffic, mobile connectivity, and education. FDI inflows represent greenfield FDI and do not include mergers and acquisitions, as such data are not tracked and reported on a consistent basis.
 GDP is for 225 cities for which data were available.