International Commerce Leader


Louisiana Hosts International Trade Leaders for Weeklong Economic Showcase Event

Decision makers from more than 20 countries explore investment and opportunities across the state at the 14th Americas Competitiveness Exchange

Louisiana Hosts International Trade Leaders for Weeklong Economic Showcase Event

International trade leaders converged in Louisiana when the state hosted the Americas Competitiveness Exchange in March. The delegation was able to connect with over 30 sites during the one-week program, resulting in over 200 immediate collaboration opportunities. (Inter-American Competitiveness Network photo)

A high-level delegation of more than 50 economic leaders from across the Western Hemisphere forged business relationships and explored trade and investment opportunities in Louisiana when the state hosted the Americas Competitiveness Exchange in March.

ACE participants learned about the vast economic opportunities in Louisiana by experiencing the state’s business climate first-hand and engaging with the state’s versatile workforce, entrepreneurial ecosystem, innovative leaders, world-class research and development facilities, and cultural institutions. The event also gave participants a chance to create opportunities to incubate and accelerate ideas, get inspired, find new partners and build long-term connections vital for economic growth. 

ACE Louisiana started in New Orleans, continued to Baton Rouge, then moved to Lafayette and the Acadiana Region. During this time, the delegation visited more than 30 sites, resulting in over 200 immediate collaboration opportunities.

“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.”

- Gov. John Bel Edwards

The weeklong itinerary showcased the state’s economic resilience, reflecting five consecutive years of capital investment growth even as the pandemic severely disrupted global supply chain economics. Delegates met with leaders from established and emerging economic sectors – from energy, advanced manufacturing and agribusiness to software development, healthcare innovation, water management and more. Among the regional sites in the ACE spotlight:

  • The Water Campus in Baton Rouge featured innovative coastal restoration and water management collaborations by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, the Water Institute of the Gulf and the LSU Center for River Studies.
  • The Port of New Orleans showcased the state’s logistic superiority and demonstrated the groundbreaking SmartPort initiative that puts Louisiana’s waterborne commerce on the cutting edge of digital technology.
  • New Orleans BioInnovation Center and BioDistrict hosted a discussion about the dramatic expansion of the life sciences sector throughout Louisiana.
  • LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge took 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 hosted a renewable energy discussion, detailing efforts to redevelop the shipyard into a manufacturing facility to support offshore wind projects.
  • The University of Louisiana at Lafayette offered delegates an inside look at research and higher education workforce partnerships supporting economic development.
  • The Tabasco Factory on Avery Island, where the McIlhenny Company has been in operation since 1868, highlighted the history and culture underpinning the state’s economy.

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), who launched the program in 2014.