Greenville, South Carolina, is the ninth-fastest growing city in the United States, according to CNN Money. Two of the main contributors to this rapid growth are trade liberalization (free trade) and foreign direct investment.
The upstate of South Carolina, which includes the city of Greenville and small towns of Spartanburg and Anderson, is turning into a hub for foreign-owned companies. During the past few decades, the upstate region has been the recipient of more foreign investment per capita than any other region in the United States. These investments have transformed a once low-skilled textile workforce into a high-skilled workforce to develop advanced products for companies such as German-based BMW and France-based Michelin. The area is becoming a prime location for Research and Development for advanced technology and manufacturing.
Anti-globalization groups argue that outsourcing destroys jobs, but they fail to mention the benefits of insourcing. South Carolina ranks first in the country in attracting jobs through foreign investment, according to an analysis by IBM Plant Location International. Foreign-owned companies are choosing to invest in the Greenville area because of advantages like the state’s right-to-work policy and easy access to a major U.S. port. These investments are creating jobs. Over 104,300 South Carolinians are employed by foreign-affiliated companies. These companies are relying on international trade to increase profits. According to the South Carolina Department of Commerce, 28.7 percent of all manufacturing workers in the state depend on exports for their jobs.
It is essential that state and federal policies are based on an understanding of these benefits of international trade and investment. South Carolina is making the right policy choices. Other states should follow the Palmetto State’s lead.
Drew Ringley is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm.