Wednesday, July 24, 2024

International Commerce Master Plan provides 10-year roadmap for continued growth of Louisiana exports, imports and foreign direct investment

by BIZ Magazine

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Board of International Commerce (LaBIC) today released a new Comprehensive Development Plan that establishes a detailed blueprint for sustaining the recent rapid growth of foreign trade and business investment in the state.

LaBIC was created legislatively in 2012 to advance the state’s international commerce initiatives and enhance the state’s trade-based economy in collaboration with the Louisiana Economic Development Office of International Commerce (OIC). In 2013, LaBIC completed its first 10-year roadmap for the continued advancement and attraction of international commerce in Louisiana. The second iteration of that master plan combines objective research about performance and best practices in neighboring states with a vision statement incorporating input from stakeholders throughout Louisiana. It was prepared by economist Ed Bee at Taimerica Management Company.

Among the points of emphasis:

  • Louisiana should build on the individual strengths and natural advantages of its ports, which are among the state’s most valuable economic assets.
  • Louisiana should continue to operate under an open investment policy, conditioned upon what is lawfully permissible, supported by each successive administration.
  • Louisiana should proceed with plans to develop the proposed Louisiana International Terminal (LIT) container facility to facilitate the expansion of container imports and exports on the Lower Mississippi River.

“Expanding international trade and foreign direct investment and reinvesting in our state’s port infrastructure were priorities of my administration from day one, and I am pleased to see LaBIC charting a course for continued focus on those core economic values,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Louisiana has been No. 1 in per capita foreign direct investment every year I’ve been governor, and it is critically important to the future of our state that we do what’s necessary to stay at the top.”

The report highlights a number of global economic trends that play to Louisiana’s strengths, including the decarbonization of global energy markets; increasing dominance of U.S. LNG exporters; growing number of process industries making major investments in sustainable processes to meet global demand for low-carbon products, particularly in hydrogen, ammonia and E-fuel production; surging demand for rare earth minerals processing in support of domestic EV battery supply chains; and the emergence of an offshore wind production industry in the Gulf of Mexico.

The development plan emphasized the LIT project in Violet – the result of four years of collaborative work by LED, the Port of New Orleans and private investors – must move forward if Louisiana is to keep pace with other regional ports. The project would accommodate more and bigger containers and could spur logistics investments by private companies seeking to leverage the new terminal’s increased capacity.

“Our entire board and our partners at LED take great pride in Louisiana’s successful export growth and in attracting major new capital investments and jobs,” LaBIC Chairman Greg Rusovich said. “We have laid a strong foundation for a generational new container port in Violet and expanded investments in ports throughout our state. We now stand ready to further grow our imports and attract additional major distribution centers. I’m grateful to the Legislature and the many stakeholders who recognize the importance of foreign trade and business development to Louisiana’s economic well-being. Their continued support and commitment to economic progress can make the vision contained in this report a reality.”

To read the full report, visit the Louisiana Board of International Commerce page on OpportunityLouisiana.gov.

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