WRIGHT TOWNSHIP — In a global economy, international business can make or break a company.
It’s why the state has an Office of International Business Development that not only helps companies make sales overseas, but also helps to attract foreign companies to do business stateside and even open offices in Pennsylvania.
One company that’s been a success in exporting products is Cornell Iron Works in the Crestwood Industrial Park in Mountain Top.
Wilfred H. Muskens, deputy secretary for International Business Development, toured the facility Tuesday as part of a regional effort by the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development to meet economic drivers throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Officials visited King’s College, Misericordia University and the future site of the Northeast Regional Food Bank in Jenkins Township on Tuesday and plan to be in Nanticoke, Hazle Township, Dallas, Drums and Hazleton today as part of an outreach effort called “DCED On The Road” to tout Gov. Tom Corbett’s plans for economic growth, job creation and community development.
Muskens said companies such as Gentex in Simpson and Cornell Iron Works have figured out international sales are vital to survival.
“Sometimes the survival of a company is dependant on how well they export,” Muskens said. Exporting not only saves jobs, he said, but creates them, too.
With 29 offices serving 65 countries, the program has aided companies large and small by getting them into foreign markets that might have been too cost prohibitive or too hard to enter.
“We provide individual, on-the-ground assistance,” Muskens said.
While some people have complained about the state spending money to help private businesses, Muskens said “we make small state investments with a huge return for our investments.” The program generated $834 million in new export sales for the state last year, he said.
The program also seeks to attract foreign companies to locate in Pennsylvania. Muskens cited Boden and ABF, two British companies, that opened sites in Luzerne County, as examples of successful imports.
While some contend manufacturing in Pennsylvania is a thing of the past, Muskens disagreed. “We’re certainly not at the end of our manufacturing economy. To the contrary, I think we’re seeing a revival,” Muskens said. He said the Marcellus Shale industry is a major driver in that regard.