LARGO – Prince George’s County is looking to emerge from its structural deficit and improve the economy, but is going to look for help from foreign investors to do so. The county’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), along with County Executive Rushern Baker III, has launched the Prince George’s County International Initiative. This initiative, according to […]
LARGO – Prince George’s County is looking to emerge from its structural deficit and improve the economy, but is going to look for help from foreign investors to do so.
The county’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), along with County Executive Rushern Baker III, has launched the Prince George’s County International Initiative. This initiative, according to EDC President Jim Coleman, will consolidate the county’s international marketing effort and promote international investment in the county.
“Prince George’s County is surrounded by a local and international business community that has attracted international investors from around the world,” Baker said. “I believe that Prince George’s County is the gateway to the world.”
After being designated as a foreign trade zone by the Foreign Trade Zone Board, the county now has a competitive advancement over other jurisdictions, Baker said.
Investors can come from anywhere in the world through Prince George’s International. They can invest through either a direct cash investment or through the EB-5 International Investor program. This program allows foreign investors to make an investment of at least $1 million in a commercial enterprise they establish and provides them with a green card.
The investment is a safe one, Coleman said, because of Prince George’s County’s triple-A bond rating with the United States government.
“Foreign investors love it,” Coleman said.
The county is going to sign a friendship agreement with Shanghai while it is in China and will have a goal of bringing back 10 to 15 companies to invest in the county through Prince George’s International.
On top of their initiatives through the China mission, the EDC hosted a 14-member delegation of development experts from Tianjin City with hopes of teaching economic development in the United States and Prince George’s County.
The EDC launched their new China Business Center as well. The county hopes to attract more foreign investors from China, even with the recent rumors of a potential market crash.
“The market is turbulent right now all throughout the world with all of the changes and dynamics that are going on in the stock market in China, but this opportunity gives those investors a chance to say ‘hey, what better place to in than Maryland?’,” Coleman said. “Starting off in Prince George’s County where the market is safe and you know you are not going to lose money.”
Prince George’s County being designated as a foreign trade zone means foreign items will take place as if it were outside U.S. Customs territory. All foreign trade zones in the United States are ports of entry outside the territory of customs and border patrol.
Companies within these zones may receive state incentives and tax credits in order to encourage commercial operations in the country that would normally be conducted overseas. Foreign trade zone procedures allow products to be packaged, manufactured and assembled in the zone, but they may not be sold.
While the EDC and Baker are on their China Mission to find foreign investors interested in Prince George’s County, they will partner those investors up with county residents who may be interested in starting partnerships for business in the county.
“The best way to grow the county is to not just do it within the county,” Coleman said. “We must reach out to investors outside the region and outside the country to continue to improve the county’s economy.
“If you jump on this opportunity now, you won’t be chasing the herd. If you are going to Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, that is chasing the herd. There is nothing to be done there.”
There will be massive development in Prince George’s County over the next five years, Coleman said, which will be the biggest selling point for foreign investors.
Baker hopes with a growing Latino business and residential population in the county, as well as a strong African population, more foreign business delegations will visit the county because of Prince George’s International.
“Prince George’s County will also strategically target our upcoming business missions toward emerging markets in Cuba, Latin America and Africa and will also continue to build on established markets in Asia, Europe and North America,” Baker said.
Prince George’s International is not really a new initiative in the county, Coleman said, but it is a new brand. Baker always envisioned international investment as one of the stronger qualities in the county.
“We reach out to countries all over the world to extend our relationships, to encourage our relationships and to help create jobs here,” Coleman said.
Nicole Mack, a volume acquisition manager for TATA Global Beverages, said she is excited about the international movement for Prince George’s County. TATA is an international global beverage company supplying tea and coffee throughout the United States and Canada. The company is based out of India and they operate with international associates.
“We have a pretty diverse workforce and it is a representative of Maryland. It’s a pretty diverse state,” Mack said. “It’s a great idea to bring international businesses into the county because it is representative of who the associates are and the constituents.”