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ESD Executives: "Turkey Is a Developing Strategic Partner for New York State" PDF Print E-mail
2009-06-14 04:56:13
As home to 94 Fortune 500 companies, 310 academic institutions, and hundreds of leading businesses - including companies in the biotech, high tech and financial industries – New York outranks many other big states in terms of economic growth. Image
IBM’s 2007 Global Location Trends Report ranked New York State number one in attracting international investment among all North American destinations—including the United States, Canada and Mexico.
With co-headquarters in Albany, Buffalo and New York City, supported by a network of 18 additional locations throughout the state and around the world, Empire State Development (ESD) is New York State's lead economic development agency. The agency also oversees the marketing of “I LOVE NY,” the state’s iconic tourism brand. Executives of New York State Empire State Development Corporation  answered TURKOFAMERICA’s questions.

What are Empire State Development’s plans to bring more international companies to New York State?  ESD has international offices in different countries.  Will you consider opening one in Turkey?
Our network of offices, both throughout New York State and throughout the world, is vital in promoting New York State’s interests in the area of economic development through international trade and foreign direct investments.  Looking ahead, our international trade specialists will continue to assist businesses that wish to relocate or establish a presence in New York State, as well as help New York State businesses in the expansion of existing operations to overseas markets.  This is accomplished through both technical and financial assistance services, including site selection and logistical assistance; demographic, wage, tax and utility cost data; networking with local government officials and private businesses; and access to state and local government incentive programs, including those focused on financing, tax benefits and job training.

We will continue our evaluation of the locations and effectiveness of our offices abroad. Recognizing that Turkey is a developing strategic partner for New York State, Sam Natapoff, who not only serves as Empire State Development’s Senior Vice President of International Economic Development but also as Senior Advisor to the Governor of New York State on International Commerce, recently traveled to Turkey to meet with business leaders. Nine Turkish firms have offices in the New York City and Long Island regions, primarily in finance, air transport and real estate.  We also have fantastic State University of New York (SUNY)-Turkey educational initiatives led by U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Robert Gosende.  Turkey, certainly, has emerged on our radar screen as a strong contender for a potential future office for New York State. We intend to build on relationships like the one with Turkey to better position New York State for future economic growth.

The world faces challenging financial and economic times since 2007, what has been the most important development for ESD on this time?
As the world faces challenging financial and economic times, so does New York.  We are pleased, however, that New York State has confronted this challenge head-on. ESD continues to support business growth and development throughout New York State.  While Governor Paterson has called for fiscal restraint, he also recognizes that we must continue to make smart investments that help to create jobs, stimulate private sector investment and improve the state’s business climate.

In more specific and international terms, we are also extremely proud that ESD organized two trade missions to New York regions this year for foreign trade commissioners (FTCs)—one to Albany and one to the Buffalo/Niagara region.  The trade missions were designed to foster investment and job creation between international business interests and local business. During these missions, FTCs heard from senior New York officials, learned about investment opportunities in New York State, met with local businesses and trade partners, and became acquainted with the strengths of the respective regions.  Turkish representatives were present on both of these missions.  Two more trade missions are planned for later this year, for the Rochester/Syracuse region and the Long Island region.

New York City is a global city, but regions beyond New York City are not well-known to foreign investors. If we ask you to say something to foreign investors, what would your message be?   
Quite simply, New York State is home to business, and we are ideally positioned to compete and lead in the global economy. In fact, IBM’s 2007 Global Location Trends Report ranked New York State number one in attracting international investment among all North American destinations—including the United States, Canada and Mexico.

What we call “upstate New York,” the area north of New York City, already boasts a high-tech economy, and is rapidly becoming a world-class technology center that fosters innovative ideas and pioneers programs focused on bringing the most advanced, cutting-edge technological products to the market.  Upstate New York also has a superior infrastructure, with transportation and telecommunications networks, abundant water and power, and accessibility to domestic and international markets that can meet virtually every need.  Finally, New York has an extremely productive workforce that is ranked fourth in the nation in worker productivity, a per worker productivity level that surpasses the national average by 25 percent.  
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In the past, western New York was a very important commerce hub but the region now needs more development and investors. What is your prediction for the region? Will it become a center of business again?
Western New York, which contains the second largest metropolitan area in the state (Buffalo), has a comprehensive list of regional assets, including being the major commercial and industrial center of upstate New York; serving as a vital link between the Midwest, Eastern U.S. and Canadian markets (about 55 percent of the U.S. population and 62 percent of the Canadian population reside within 500 miles of the region); and is home to New York State’s largest, most comprehensive public university (The State University of New York at Buffalo).  The traditional reputation of Buffalo as “blue collar” no longer applies. 

Today, the regional economy contains a mix of diverse sectors including advanced manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, food and beverage and service providing.
Further, western New York has tremendous assets that position the region to convert its “Rust Belt” infrastructure into the “Green Belt” of the future.  It has abundant natural resources like water and wind, top-tier colleges and universities, an educated workforce and under-utilized manufacturing facilities—all which will be vital to the green industry.  And, in New York State, we are fortunate that Governor David Paterson is a solid advocate for the growing green business sector.  

As I look toward the future of Buffalo, I see that we can replicate the success of our Albany Nano-tech campus, where we’ve built upon one of our state’s key resources, our university system, to create a world-leading public-private partnership that both pushes the boundaries of research, and then commercializes it, creating jobs.  We have the ingredients for this type of transformational project here in Buffalo, with its strong biomedical cluster, and numerous public-private partnerships.

When you compare New York State to the other states, what are the three most important reasons for investors to make an investment in New York State? Why not California, Texas or New Jersey?
There are a wide variety of reasons for investors to make an investment in New York State.  The state is optimally positioned at the center of the world’s largest, richest and most active consumer marketplace. For countries around the world, New York State is the gateway to the U.S. market, and specifically, this country’s Northeast and Midwest regions.  Additionally, New York is an easy base from which to service your existing and potential customers. We possess industry clusters in the forefront of future development: Life Sciences, Nanotechnology, IT Telecom, Renewable Energy, Green Technology, Optics and Imaging, as well as a tremendous workforce and excellent higher education institutions to collaborate with these emerging technologies.  Lastly, New York State remains at the core of the expanding international marketplace and a leading magnet for foreign investment in the United States.
 
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