International Business: World Trade Center Utah: Connecting international business at the crossroads of the West

Published: Friday, Oct. 14 2011 12:09 p.m. MDT

Pipe-fitters William Moore (left) and Max Larsen work in the sub-fab level of the IM Flash Technologies facility in Lehi, Utah, Feb. 8, 2007.

Keith Johnson, Deseret News archives

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The following article was originally published in the October-December 2011 issue of ICOSA Magazine, a quarterly publication focused on collaboration among great businesses, accomplished communities, remarkable government and extraordinary academia across the country and around the world. The article is reprinted here on DeseretNews.com with permission from both the author and ICOSA.

“The California State Legislature is the greatest economic developer Utah could ever hope for,” quips Lew Cramer, founding president and CEO of the World Trade Center Utah.

As California’s government increases taxes and regulations, companies in Silicon Valley and the rest of the Golden State are increasingly looking to move to the business-friendly Silicon Slopes of Utah.

Ask Cramer about what the WTC Utah does and he will list the many virtues of Utah’s business-friendly economic policies in regulation, taxes and education. The state has recently won many accolades in this area, including Best State for Business (Forbes, 2010), No. 1 for Best Business Climate (Business Facilities, 2011) and No. 2 Pro-Business State (Pollina Corporate, 2010).

Press him for more specifics about what his WTC Utah team does and he will tell about successful corporations that excel in worldwide markets because of the advantages they gain operating from within Utah.

For example, IM Flash Technologies, a joint venture between Intel and Micron Technology, choose to base its manufacturing in Lehi, Utah. In five years, the company’s flash memory market share has risen from zero to 15 percent, making its exports the majority of Utah’s nearly $2 billion in computer and electronics exports.

“Utah is the only state to double exports in the last five years, and we’ll double them again in the next five,” says Cramer.

After listening for only a few minutes, one can see Cramer is also showing — not just telling — exactly what the WTC Utah does. Some of the organization’s principal roles include increasing the world’s awareness of the Utah business community and “connecting local businesses to private and public international and local resources for international business development.”

Cramer’s cheerleading for Utah industry recently helped the state win a widely coveted role with The World Bank. Elizabeth Goryunova, executive vice president and chief operating officer for WTC Utah and director of international relations for the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, is now also one of the nation’s six private sector liaison officers to the World Bank Group. This means the WTC Utah has insiders’ knowledge to connect local companies with procurement opportunities through the World Bank and other international financial institutions.

“The World Trade Center Utah is uniquely positioned to bring together many international organizations,” explains Cramer. “We are a catalyst for international trade, often introducing businesses to resources like the Gold Key Matching Service offered by the U.S. Commercial Service”.

This service uses a vast network to introduce U.S. companies to potential business partners in other countries. During Utah’s recent trade mission to China, the WTC Utah helped facilitate many of those Gold Key introductions to local companies.

For the state’s same trade mission to China, Utah’s governor Gary Herbert wanted to bring some gifts. Cramer, who has formerly taught international marketing at Georgetown and directed the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service, is very savvy about international etiquette and became personally involved. He facilitated a connection with Greg Miller, owner of the Utah Jazz and a member of WTC Utah’s board of directors, who generously contributed several autographed basketballs. As Cramer had anticipated, the gifts were a big hit thanks to the rapidly increasing popularity of basketball in China.

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