Louisiana Wins Federal Grant To Track Foreign Investment

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Economic Development has been awarded a federal grant aimed at further strengthening the state’s competitive position in attracting investments by international companies. The grant will provide for the creation of an international trade recruitment tool known as the Predictive Investment Model, or PRIMO.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded a $170,000 grant to LED for the project. EDA grants are awarded through a competitive process based on merit and the availability of funds. To qualify for the award, the state provided a matching grant of $175,000, sourced from the budget of LED’s Office of International Commerce, making the total value of the project $345,000.

“Our Office of International Commerce, created in 2012, maintains business development campaigns in strategic markets and across key industries,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “Our team keeps a close eye on high-growth international companies that might have plans to expand into the United States. To date, our office has generated over 22,000 direct and indirect jobs, and more than $20 billion in capital investment. This project will give us a more efficient way to identify new corporate leads, hone our outreach, and market Louisiana as a viable, attractive location to relevant foreign investors.”

The PRIMO economic forecasting tool will provide a framework for predicting foreign-firm investment in the U.S. and competitor locations, allowing LED to target firms most likely to invest and expand in the near future. PRIMO will pair domestic and foreign businesses with localities across Louisiana, and leverage the work of the Office of International Commerce’s master plan, which should enhance the state’s ability to compete in global markets. If successful, the result will be greater job creation and capital investment opportunities.

The project will operate in two phases. First, a comprehensive research phase will identify metrics that demonstrate a correlation with investments by international firms in the U.S. These metrics will be used to build an algorithm that identifies firms most likely to invest in the future. Companies will be prioritized based upon characteristics that have been determining factors in their decision to pursue international growth.

Then, the forecasting tool will be implemented over a 21-month period, during which it will be tested, adjusted and refined through direct outreach to foreign companies. As it is integrated into LED’s daily operations, PRIMO should be able to generate timely lead suggestions for further exploration by LED’s business development team.

Louisiana ranks No. 1 per capita among all states in Foreign Direct Investment, with more than $60 billion in FDI projects since 2008. LED’s Office of International Commerce actively pursues FDI opportunities around the world; last year, LED participated in eight trade missions targeting 10 markets.

In recent weeks, China-based Wanhua Chemical Group selected Louisiana for a $1.12 billion chemical manufacturing complex and South Korea-based Lotte Chemical USA announced it will move its headquarters from Texas to the Lake Charles area. Lotte is developing a $1.9 billion ethane cracker with Westlake Chemical and building a $1.1 billion monoethylene glycol plant, both near Lake Charles. Louisiana is now home to more than 500 international companies from approximately 50 countries, with more than 57,000 jobs supported by foreign-owned enterprises.

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