The Exchange is a network of metro areas that over the course of the first five years of the Global Cities Initiative developed and implemented regional trade and investment strategies to boost global trade and investment, forge partnerships between U.S. and international metropolitan areas, and advocate for state and national policy changes. The Exchange enables leaders to act on the ideas and collaborations generated by GCI’s research and forums, resulting in more globally-oriented metropolitan areas and an evolution in economic development policy and practice. At the core of the Exchange are the 32 U.S. metropolitan areas who participated in the two-phase planning process to create integrated export and foreign direct investment (FDI) plans.
Metropolitan areas participating in the Exchange
Final plan documents
Global Trade and Investment Plans
|Des Moines||Minneapolis-St. Paul||San Diego|
|Indianapolis plan | Summary||Portland||Syracuse|
|Louisville-Lexington||Salt Lake County|
|Fresno||Kansas City||San Antonio|
|Baltimore (FDI)||Houston (FDI)|
Creating a global trade and investment plan
Phase 1: Exports
The first core component of the Exchange is a metropolitan export plan crafted by a team of regional cross-sector leaders. Export plans apply market intelligence to the development of strategies that help regions to cultivate a larger pipeline of export-ready firms and better connect them to export services and growing global markets. The export planning process results in four key deliverables: a data-driven market assessment; an export plan with specific goals, objectives, and strategies; an implementation plan; and a policy memo that identifies critical state and federal reforms.
Example export plans:
Note: Portland and Minneapolis-St. Paul created global trade and investment plans which update and supplant these export plans. These examples are provided for reference only.
Brookings’ how-to guides for the planning process, and other tools:
- Export Monitor 2017 (comprehensive data) »
- Ten Steps to Delivering a Successful Metro Export Plan »
- Championing Your Metro Export Initiative (PDF) »
- Export Market Assessment Guide (PDF) »
- Sample Export Business Survey (PDF) »
- Sample Export Business Interview Form (PDF) »
- Guide to Writing a Metro Export Plan (PDF) »
Phase 2: FDI
Foreign direct investment is a natural complement to export planning initiatives and serves as the second core component of the Exchange. In this phase, metro areas explore new forms of FDI, assess the interaction of FDI and exports, and develop strategies to attract and retain investment. Each metro area produces a market assessment, a global trade and investment plan, an implementation plan, and a policy memo. The global trade and investment plan integrates both FDI and exports, supplanting the export plan.
Example global trade and investment plans:
The following are examples of metro area plan deliverables and resources that have proven effective in the development and implementation of global trade and investment plans.
- Comprehensive Market Assessment: San Diego
- Summary of Market Assessment Key Findings: San Diego
- Export Resources Guide: Minneapolis-St. Paul
- Export Implementation Plan: Portland
- Policy Memo: Portland | Syracuse
- Survey Analysis: Portland
Phase 2: FDI
- FDI in U.S. Metro Areas (comprehensive data) »
- FDI planning guide: A blueprint for metro teams pursuing global economic engagement »
- The 10 Lessons from Global Trade and Investment Planning in U.S. Metro Areas »
- Global Trade and Investment Market Assessment Guide (PDF) »
- Guide to Writing a Global Trade and Investment Plan (PDF) »
For detailed stories and lessons from the design and implementation of both exports and foreign direct investment strategies, see The making of global cities: Stories from the Global Cities Exchange.
Additional resources from the Global Cities Initiative
The goal of the Exchange is to foster a network of metro areas that are deepening their global trade relationships and positioning themselves for high quality growth and competitiveness in the 21st-century economy. To achieve this vision, metropolitan areas will strategically align global assets (such as infrastructure and logistics, advanced research, and skilled labor) with their global trade and investment plans. Below is a set of Brookings reports and resources related to broader global engagement and competitiveness.
- The 10 traits of globally fluent metro areas
- The metro freight series
- Metro North America: Metros as hubs of advanced industries and integrated goods trade
- Global Metro Monitor
- Global gateways: International aviation in metropolitan America
- Performance measurement in economic development – even the standard can’t live up to the standard
- A tale of two trade fairs: Milwaukee’s globally relevant water proposition
- Measuring state and metro global trade and investment strategies in the absence of data
- Performance measures prove elusive for metro global trade initiatives
- Does the ‘foreign’ in ‘foreign direct investment’ matter?
- Metro areas merge export and FDI strategies
- Metro areas target true global specializations to accelerate foreign investment
- Regional foreign investment strategies begin at home
- What can metro areas do about foreign mergers and acquisitions?
- Recognizing the global opportunity in the middle market