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Prepping U.S. cities for global competition.

Reports show the challenge that lies ahead for America's cities and towns is to gain a strong competitive edge in the international marketplace.

Indications are that the challenge which cities face comes in trying to build an infrastructure which will allow a community maximum advantage in competing with its global counterparts, taking full advantage of existing resources, and broadening awareness about the importance of trade development to the base of local and state economies.

"Thinking Globally and Acting Locally: A Matter of Survival," (Business America, November 1992) by Virginia M. Mayer, a staff associate at the National League of Cities, shows that simply pursuing global markets is no longer enough. To be truly competitive in the global arena, she says, cities need to be strategic. Cities need to define a plan, with both short- and long-term goals, and develop an implementation strategy which defines responsibilities, time frames, priorities, and organizational structures necessary to accomplish the stated goals, according to the article.

There are existing resources to assist Local businesses in virtually every phase of developing an international trade strategy; from identifying first practical steps to aggressively marketing a product. According to Mayer's report, the U.S. Department of Commerce is one of the most prominent resources across the country. Over 125,000 local businesses receive one- on-one counseling every year.

Mayer notes that locally, there are a variety of resources, from local universities and chambers of commerce, to international firms and banks. Raising awareness about what is available and defining how to access the resources are two important steps to fully utilizing valuable assets.

International trade, Mayer stresses, is important to the economic stability and well-being of communities. Collaborative efforts at increasing the awareness of this importance is needed at all levels of government. In her report Mayer points to Chambers of Commerce, the private sector, and the media as playing pivotal roles in educating the business, government, and employment sectors about the importance of global economics.

To meet the challenge of operating in an international economy, cities and towns will need to determine the appropriate levels of investment in those areas critical to global competitiveness.
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Title Annotation:Futures Forum; includes related article on the factors necessary for global competition
Author:Cheek, Dorothy
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Apr 12, 1993
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