Indiana scores 5th in global trade study

FORT WAYNE – Indiana ranks in the Top 5 nationwide in the ability to adapt to an evolving global trade market, according to a study released Tuesday.

The highest-ranking states, in order, are Nevada, West Virginia, Delaware, Utah and Indiana. Ohio ranked 14th, and Michigan placed 16th.

The study by Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research measured how well states have adapted to changing import demands by the 34 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development from 1999 to 2009.

The international organization was founded in 1961 to encourage cooperation on economic issues and global trade. Members include the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Switzerland, according to its website.

Participating countries’ total imports were $10.4 trillion in 2008 but dipped to $7.8 trillion in 2009 because of the recession, according to the study.

China is not in the organization, and its imports were not included in the study.

Researchers preferred to focus on more “advanced” economies, where import demand is more stable, they said in the report.

Nalitra Thaiprasert, a research economist at the Center for Business and Economic Research, led the research project.

The top-ranking states export machinery and pharmaceutical, chemical, electrical and medical items, the report found.

“Like the other states in the Top 5, Indiana has invested in these key industries over the past few decades,” Thaiprasert said in a statement. “Hoosiers are currently producing what the world is demanding, which bodes well for our economy in the coming years.”

Ola DeGabriele, Fort Wayne’s international trade manager, said Indiana has always been a strong producer of machinery, chemicals and orthopedics devices.

“I’m not really sure if (the state placed fifth) because of adaptation or the area has always sold those products that are in demand,” she said after reviewing the final report.

DeGabriele, who has been in her position more than 10 years, counsels business owners who want to pursue foreign trade.

She hasn’t seen area manufacturers abandon production of items, such as wood or textiles, because of falling global demand.

But she does see them tweak output according to customers’ requests.

“One lesson everyone has to learn is, just watch the markets and see what the demand is,” she said. “The world is always changing.”
Source: The Journal Gazette