Gov. Markell seeks foreign business for Del.
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 21:04
Gov. Jack Markell led a trade mission in India last week to attract Indian companies to set up foreign bases of operations in the state, according to the state of Delaware’s website.
University President Patrick Harker, Secretary of Transportation Shailen Bhatt and Deputy Director for International Trade Felicia Pullman joined the governor on his 10-day trip. Markell promoted Delaware’s high-caliber workforce, convenient location and reasonable cost of living to companies in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.
Governors have become interested in the prospect of overseas businesses coming to the United States so that jobs can be supplied for their constituents, according to New York University economics and global business professor Thomas Pugel.
In the past, companies in other parts of the United States or Europe initially set up production activities in India because of low costs, Pugel said. These Indian companies could find more ways to grow their already increasing businesses by setting up locations closer to their Western customers, he said.
Indian companies seek resources, land and workers in addition to customers when they set up U.S. bases, Pugel said. Markell attempted to convince these corporations to do business in Delaware, he said.
“The governor likes to be able to make speeches like, ‘Foreign companies will create more jobs,’” Pugel said. “It is political bragging, although it does not make as much sense as it sounds.”
Sophomore Chad Woodes said Indian companies in Delaware are likely to bring more jobs, although he said he is not sure if these jobs would be beneficial for university graduates.
“It sounds nice but a lot of things sound nice on the surface and that isn’t always the reality,” Wood said. “I would like to see stats to see how big the companies are and often the jobs offered are minimal wage jobs that students getting out of college are not interested in getting.”
States compete to convince foreign companies to set up their U.S. base in their state by offering them tax cuts and benefits, Pugel said. By offering such breaks, officials are reducing the overall benefit to have foreign companies in their state, he said.
On a local and individual level, these new companies will offer more job opportunities for some university graduates because companies will probably seek graduates in engineering, management or science-related disciplines, Pugel said.
He said faculty can also work with these companies on research to help further developthese companies, he said. As a strong relationship is built, more research opportunities would be available to the university faculty, according to Pugel.
Furthermore, these companies may provide support for their employees to pursue higher education and enroll in masters programs at the university, Pugel said.
Harker said in an interview with an Indian trade group that students work with faculty and companies in order to train and secure professional position after they graduate.
“We have actually two programs at the University of Delaware,” Harker said. “We have a spin out program where students work with faculty that create businesses and launch them. We also have a spin in program where students work with entrepreneurs on their ideas and with faculty to try to create a new business.”
Pugel said Indian companies are not the only companies targeted to set up their base in the United States. He said Europe and the United States had an interesting development in the last couple of months and he predicts a future collaboration between Europe and the United States.
“My guess is over the next 2 years there would be an interest to European companies to invest in the U.S.,” Pugel said. “So I expect a trip from the governor to Europe in the future.”