This column appeared in the Gettysburg Times, May 14, 2015

By Kaycee Kemper

Pennsylvania has the 22nd largest economy in the world. That’s right—in the world. In fact, if Pennsylvania was a country, it would nearly qualify as a G20 nation, with a gross domestic product of more than $600 billion. Reminder—the list of G20 nations includes such powerhouse economies as China, Germany, the European Union, Japan, and of course our United States.

The Keystone State ranks number one in the USA for direct foreign investment, and it boasts the 4th highest number of jobs provided by foreign owned companies. In FY 2013-14, Pennsylvania welcomed 24 foreign-based companies to the state, along with a total investment of more than $180 million, which created 1,173 jobs. Talk about PA power!

These impressive, eye-opening statistics were presented by state officials from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) at a conference I recently attended. By bringing this knowledge back to Adams County, it’s my hope that ACEDC can encourage and empower area companies to take advantage of Pennsylvania’s thriving economy, export market, tools and expertise!

DCED is encouraging growth and expansions into world markets from both new and experienced exporters. They can assist businesses in researching markets, locating buyers and finding funding—initially—plus they can provide long-term assistance and guidance to businesses.

In terms of tools, Pennsylvania has an incredible transportation network including three ports, six international airports, and excellent highway and freight railway systems.

Additionally, the state’s Office of International Business Development (OIBD) has established the largest network of overseas offices of any state in the USA—19 offices focused on trade, located in 55 countries including Australia, China, India, Brazil, and countries across Europe including Germany and Switzerland.

The impact of Pennsylvania’s growing world trade market? In the past five years, between 2009-2014, there have been 44,403 jobs created which generated $4.1 billion in export sales and capital investments.

Check the NewPA website,, for additional facts, advice, and information on financing programs that can help companies begin their exporting adventures. Nine key industries are identified with fact sheets available for each: energy, technology, advanced manufacturing and materials, agribusiness, tourism, life sciences, film, aviation and plastics.

Agribusiness, for example, is one of the fastest-growing export industries, according to “Pennsylvania is a global brand in agriculture. Its food manufacturing industry shipped more than $32 billion worth of products in 2011, ranking it among the highest in the country, and the sector’s export activity is on the rise. With more than $1.8 billion worth of agricultural commodities exports in 2013, food manufacturing now ranks as the fifth-fastest growing exporting industry in the state, growing more than 70 percent between 2008 and 2013.”

Have we whetted your appetite for more information? Have you given exporting serious consideration?

Contact ACEDC today, 717-334-0042, and we’d be happy to link local businesses to DCED’s export experts. Our assistance can even go a step further–we can also connect area businesses to national resources through SelectUSA, a division of the US Department of Commerce that encourages and facilitates both domestic and foreign business investment in the US. Additional federal resources can be found on the following websites: and We look forward to tracking the upward economic success of Adams County’s and Pennsylvania’s export markets!