During the third annual Utah Global Forum, Gov. Gary R. Herbert announced the formation of an exploratory committee to drive the development of an inland port in Utah. Gov. Herbert addressed an audience of more than 400 business and community leaders, highlighting Utah’s ever-growing global presence.
“Despite anti-trade, isolationist rhetoric at the national level, Utah remains committed to promoting international trade,” Gov. Gary R. Herbert said in the address. “Fortunately, in expanding our business and influence internationally, we are aided by the fact that Utah is a leader in collaboration and partnership. We have a proven track record of finding solutions and building success through working together.”
This announcement follows the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute’s recent study confirming the state’s potential to support an inland port, citing Salt Lake City’s geographic location, Utah’s robust labor market and infrastructure projects such as the airport expansion as important elements for success. An inland port is expected to support small businesses, manufacturing and economic growth statewide.
“Trade opens our landlocked state to millions of new customers and opportunities that would not be available in a closed economy,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of World Trade Center Utah. “An especially important benefit of international trade is the relationships it forges between countries. Foreign trade is the key to economic prosperity and harmonious relationships worldwide.”
The Utah Global Forum, held at The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, convened Utah business leaders, national experts and consuls general to exchange best practices in international trade. The event was hosted by Gov. Herbert and presented by World Trade Center Utah, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and the Salt Lake Chamber.
Edward Luce, chief U.S. columnist and commentator for the Financial Times, provided the morning keynote discussing challenges ranging from domestic elections to situations such as Brexit and rising tensions abroad. Following the keynote address, four “power presenters” provided expert advice on exporting, international partnerships, global finance and Utah’s inland port. Attendees later attended breakout sessions expanding on these topics, as well as international networking.
The World Trade Association, an organization of companies that work in the global marketplace, recognized two individuals and one company at the forum for their contributions to Utah’s global growth. This year’s awards, sponsored by KeyBank, included:
- International Person of the Year – U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch
- International Company of the Year – doTERRA
- Lifetime Achievement Award – Franz Kolb, Director of Diplomacy and Protocol at GOED’s International Trade and Diplomacy Office
Utah is ninth in the nation for export growth, one of few states to maintain a trade surplus. Approximately 22 percent of Utah jobs are supported in some way by international business. Research shows exporting firms are more productive and pay higher wages than non-exporting firms.