Despite the lingering effects of a global pandemic and the Trump administration’s trade wars, foreign markets and foreign business investment remain a vital part of New Hampshire’s economy. In fact, the latest report on the globalization of New Hampshire prepared by researchers at Plymouth State University (PSU) shows that New Hampshire is ready to attract more foreign investment.
The pandemic has exposed high risks to the global supply chain and as companies seek to minimize those risks, they are investing in areas where the supply chain is more regionalized. New Hampshire is well positioned to be the gateway to the East Coast for foreign businesses, according to the 2020 report released in January by PSU business professors Roxana Wright, DBA, and Chen Wu, Ph.D., in building on 2018 and 2019 PSU studies.
The report found that foreign direct investment (FDI) has been declining nationwide since 2016 and was exacerbated in 2019 and 2020 when trade disputes and the pandemic drove down US exports and imports and disrupted US exports and imports. supply chains. As a result, Wright says, New Hampshire businesses have made supply chain resilience a top priority.
âA quarter of the activities were focused on the supply chain. Obviously, companies were trying to build a stronger supply chain, âWright said of state enterprise activity in 2020.
Brian Ward, vice president of sales and marketing at Jewell Instruments in Manchester, a manufacturer of sensors and controls, meters, avionics and industrial test equipment, says trade wars have had a bigger effect on its supply chain as COVID-19.
âIn fact, we had to work with our suppliers on pricing the way we contracted, because pricing became a reality,â he says. âWe were able to fix all of these issues, as well as COVID, and now have a really resilient supply chain. “
New Hampshire’s proximity to Canada, as well as the presence of manufacturing, high-tech and foreign companies in New Hampshire and neighboring New England states, should allow Granite State to ” benefit from regionalization, as more and more companies aim to increase the resilience of their supply chains and limit the high cost of disruption, âthe report said.
Foreign investment on the rise
While US trade fell in the first half of 2020, the good news is that it “rebounded from the third quarter due to global efforts to reopen economies.” And New Hampshire followed suit. The report says that after a sharp contraction in the second quarter of 2020, the economy of Granite State grew in the third quarter at a rate that ranked eighth nationally.
âWe weren’t expecting a lot of activity in 2020 with so many businesses closed. We were a little pleasantly surprised that foreign trade activity is still strong, âsays Wright.
New Hampshire entered the pandemic with a strong portfolio of investment and economic activity of foreign companies, with mergers and acquisitions, new establishments and business expansions increasing from 2016 to 2019, the report notes. In 2019, New Hampshire exported 9.8% more merchandise compared to 2018, reaching $ 5.8 billion in export value after four consecutive years of growth.
Wu says that although New Hampshire’s exports fell 7%, the dollar value for 2020 was still higher than in 2018 and close to the record amount of 2019.
Even with the decline in overall business activity in 2020, foreign companies continued to invest in New Hampshire, particularly in the electronics, information technology and financial services sectors as well as certain businesses. in the energy and life sciences sectors. This included 25 “remarkable” investment and expansion projects initiated by or involving foreign companies, including five acquisitions valued at more than $ 100 million, according to the report. “[Most] New Hampshire’s foreign companies are in financial services, an industry that has been less affected by the pandemic than other traditional industries, âWu said.
Among the New Hampshire companies that actually grew during the pandemic due to overseas markets are Foxx Life Sciences and Jewell Instruments.
Foxx Life Sciences is a manufacturer of bioprocess pharmaceuticals and research laboratory equipment. Its head office is located in New Hampshire, with facilities in Salem and Londonderry, but sells to customers in 35 countries and has partnerships in India and China, said Tom Taylor, president and CEO. âRecently, we added a manufacturing distribution center in India to better supply all of our Asian customers,â he says.
Jewell Instruments does most of its manufacturing in New Hampshire, but has a plant in Barbados, West Indies, for the offshore manufacturing of its traditional products, namely analog and digital panel meters. In 2020, sales outside of the United States exceeded domestic sales.
âIt is interesting to see how COVID has impacted our business. We went from 35% international to 55%. Many more international companies have really helped us in this time of COVID, âsaid Ward. âOne of our areas of growth is the sensors and controls division. This activity has in fact increased to 60% internationally. It has been fantastic.
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