More than 1,200 offices of international firms operate in South Carolina. Foreign-affiliated companies employ more than 131,900 South Carolinians — 7% of the state’s private industry employment, according to the S.C. Department of Commerce, which has offices in Germany, Japan, Korea, China and India.
Upstate SC Alliance reports there are more than 500 international companies in the Upstate, including Michelin, BMW, Bosch, ZF, Fujifilm, Toray and Adidas. The global economy led John Lummus, president and CEO of Upstate SC Alliance, to bring to Greenville a group of representatives from more than a dozen countries.
“We’re very interested in working with them and with recruiting international business,” Lummus said. “Those relationships are very important.”
Lummus said 17 representatives from 13 countries visited the Upstate for the gathering, giving local business operators an opportunity to gain insight on doing business with international firms.
“This was the first time we’ve had a group this large here,” he said. “Normally we have to go to Atlanta for this kind of gathering. This time we brought them here.”
The international delegates included:
- William De Baets, consul general to Belgium
- Koosje De Vries, deputy consul general to the Netherlands
- Ryan Evans, senior policy trade adviser, British Consulate General
- Angelika Heitzmann, manager of business development, Austrian Trade Commission
- Ash Miller, political and economic relations officer, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
- Yutaka Nakamura, deputy consul general to Japan
- Magnus Natt och Dag, honorary consul to Sweden
- John Parkerson, honorary consul to Hungary
- Michaela Schobert, director of consulting services, German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S.
- Yoann Turquetil, trade attache, Quebec Government Office
- Conny Van Wulpen, Flanders Investment and Trade commissioner
- Renato Vicario, consular correspondent of Italy
- Taewoong Youn, director, Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency
- Roland Zimmer, honorary consul to Austria
- Peter Zimmerli, consul general to Switzerland
Approximately $775 million in foreign direct investment was recruited to South Carolina in 2018, according to the Commerce Department.