Commentary: Global connections fuel Utah’s economic growth
When discussing Utah’s economic present and future, the topic of international trade is paramount. Utah is a global economy. With 95% of the world’s consumers living outside of the United States, engaging internationally isn’t a question of if, but of when and with whom.
On the heels of the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad uniting our country through trade and commerce, Utah is participating in the worldwide recognition of Global International Business Week from May 12-18. As a capstone event marking Utah’s efforts in international trade, Gov. Gary R. Herbert is hosting the 13th Annual Utah Economic Summit on May 17 to discuss current issues in Utah’s economy and the future growth of Utah’s business community.
The theme for this year’s summit, “Global Connections – How Utah’s Business-Elevated Mindset Creates Success,” demonstrates how important international trade and investment is to Utah. In fact, this year’s summit is combining with the annual Utah Global Forum for the first time, producing the state’s most comprehensive, high-profile forum for business and economic development. Headliners include Carly Fiorina, chairman of Carly Fiorina Enterprises and former CEO of Hewlett-Packard; Sarah E. Kemp, deputy undersecretary of commerce for international trade; Jesús Seade, Mexico’s top negotiator for the recently negotiated U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement; and many others.
This combined summit is indicative of broader changes occurring in Utah’s economy as it continues the longest expansion period of the state’s history. That growth is due in part to the business-friendly environment cultivated here through years of fiscal stewardship and practical political leadership. Utah ranks first as the nation’s most diverse economy and consistently leads across categories such as GDP growth, job creation and population growth.