The Wichita Metro Area was chosen to create a plan that will attract and leverage foreign direct investment (FDI).
This plan’s development will be based off of an existing plan, the Wichita-South Central Kansas Regional Export plan, which is a collaboration that will involve the city, the county, and private organizations. The Export Plan makes up a portion of the Wichita area’s participation in the Global Cities Initiative (GCI.) This is a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.
The Wichita metro area, which includes 10 counties, is among six other regions that will develop FDI plans, including Charleston, Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville-Lexington, and Phoenix.
Brookings selected these six metro areas after an extensive application process. Wichita’s metro area was chosen due to its commitment and readiness to strategically pursue foreign direct investment through activities like greenfield expansion, acquisitions, mergers, and other types of foreign investment including EB-5, joint-ventures, private equity and sovereign wealth funds.
The Global Cities Initiative, which launched in 2012, is intended to help leaders in metropolitan areas to advance the economies in their respective regions by strengthening international connections as well as competitiveness on economic indicators like advanced manufacturing, exports, foreign direct investment and traded sectors.
The program (GCI) includes activities such as producing research and data that will help guide decisions, fostering practice and policy innovations, and creating a network in which individuals can learn from their peers.
Foreign direct investment is a crucial opportunity for Wichita metro area, according to Jeff Fluhr, president of the Greater Wichita Partnership (GWP), and Karyn Page, CEO and president of Kansas Global Trade Services, which will manage both the FDI program and the Regional Export Plan.
In a joint statement, Fluhr and Page noted the importance of the foreign direct investment plan’s development.
“This is an exciting next step in our quest to become a globally competitive city,” the statement said. “Foreign direct investment will enhance our efforts to increase our global trade activity and grow our regional economy.”
The addition of a dynamic foreign direct investment plan for the Wichita metro area will increase the value of current efforts by the Greater Wichita Partnership to coordinate regional economic growth through export promotion, the Blueprint for Economic Growth (BREG) and Wichita State University Innovation Campus, all of which are cornerstones of the regional economic development strategy, according to Fluhr and Page.
Experts from Brookings have noted that foreign direct investment has supported regional economies for a long time, not just by infusing capital, but also by investing in employees, strengthening worldwide networks, and sharing business practices. The United States has been a top destination for foreign direct investment, as it is the world’s biggest economy with a stable investment environment. However, in the world’s increasingly competitive investment market, America’s global share of foreign direct investment has decreased. Metro areas such as the Wichita metro area are best equipped to attract and retain foreign direct investment by promoting their unique specialties as well as establishing mutually beneficial and strategic relationships.
“JPMorgan Chase is proud to be a part of the development of the Wichita South Central Kansas FDI plan and to support innovative planning that will contribute to our region’s future economic success,” said David Page, regional manager of JPMorgan Chase in Oklahoma. “International trade and investment represent a promising pathway for local businesses to grow and, in turn, create jobs and expand our local economy.”
Kansas Global plans to work with its regional partners to develop a foreign direct investment market assessment and plan, an implementation plan and a policy memo. This work, in addition to the area’s existing regional export plan, creates the second core component of a global engagement strategy that will strengthen the region's global economic connections and competitiveness.