A high-level delegation of more than 50 economic leaders from across the Western Hemisphere will forge business relationships and explore trade and investment opportunities in Louisiana when the state hosts the Americas Competitiveness Exchange March 26 to April 1.
Thirteen ACE events have been conducted in the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Israel and Chile since the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), in coordination with the U.S. Department of State and the Organization of American States (OAS), launched the program in 2014.
ACE Louisiana delegates – which include ambassadors and government officials, academics and CEOs, thought leaders and entrepreneurs from over 20 countries – will engage state and local stakeholders in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Acadiana at more than 40 separate events over six days.
“Hosting the Americas Competitiveness Exchange is both an extraordinary honor and a unique opportunity for Louisiana business owners, entrepreneurs, innovators and policymakers,” Governor John Bel Edwards said. “It is evidence that Louisiana’s diverse culture and economy command the attention of decision-makers from around the world seeking to learn from our example. And it raises awareness about the natural resources, infrastructure advantages and business climate that have made Louisiana a national leader in per capita foreign direct investment for the past 10 years.”
“Louisiana is an incredible place to live, play and do business. ACE Louisiana will showcase these strengths to a global audience, as well as the laudable strategies being implemented there to build a resilient and diversified economy for the future,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “I had the pleasure of working closely with Gov. John Bel Edwards on alternative energy and broadband access issues when I was Governor of Rhode Island, and I know that the ACE delegation will come away impressed and ready to do business in Louisiana as a result of the work that Louisiana Economic Development and all of the ACE Louisiana organizers and hosts are doing to grow the Pelican State’s innovation economy.”
The weeklong itinerary will showcase the state’s economic resilience, reflected in five consecutive years of capital investment growth even as the pandemic severely disrupted global supply chain economics. Delegates will meet with leaders from established and emerging economic sectors – from energy, advanced manufacturing and agribusiness to software development, healthcare innovation and water management and more. Among the regional sites in the ACE spotlight:
- The Water Campus in Baton Rouge, where the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, the Water Institute of the Gulf and the LSU Center for River Studies will share innovative coastal restoration and water management collaborations taking place.
- The Port of New Orleans, which will showcase the state’s logistics superiority and demonstrate the groundbreaking SmartPort initiative that is putting Louisiana’s waterborne commerce on the cutting edge of digital technology.
- New Orleans BioInnovation Center and BioDistrict, which will host a discussion about the dramatic expansion of the life sciences sector throughout Louisiana.
- LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, which will take delegates inside the labs where innovative research into chronic disease triggers and treatment are creating hope for sufferers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia.
- Avondale Marine in Jefferson Parish, which will host a renewable energy discussion and detail efforts to redevelop the shipyard into a manufacturing facility to support offshore wind projects.
- The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, which will offer delegates an inside look at research and higher education workforce partnerships that are supporting economic development.
- The Tabasco Factory on Avery Island, where the McIlhenny Company has been in operation since 1868, which will highlight the history and culture underpinning the state’s economy.
Louisiana’s Bayou, Central, Southwest, Northwest and Northeastern regions also will be spotlighted at events that focus on business sector growth and issues such as workforce and equitable development strategies that impact all areas of the state.
“Coming on the heels of the announced GNO, Inc. partnership with the World Trade Center of New Orleans, we are thrilled to help host the Americas Competitiveness Exchange, said Michael Hecht, President & CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “The combined resources and reach of the new ‘WTCNO@GNO, Inc.’ will ensure that we maximize the trade and investment opportunities afforded by the twenty countries meeting with us in Greater New Orleans.”
“The extraordinary collaboration among federal, state and local governments, local and regional economic development organizations, businesses, educators and innovators that has brought ACE to Louisiana exemplifies the teamwork that sets Louisiana’s economic development efforts apart,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “Literally dozens of partners have stepped up with the resources to ensure delegates have as complete a picture as possible of Louisiana’s unique advantages for international investment. Special thanks to all the ACE sponsors and economic development partners who have worked so diligently to bring this event to our state.”