Representatives of Scandinavian countries have asked the Greater Washington Board of Trade to be their host for a visit to this area to look at business opportunities here. A story in Monday's Washington Business section indicated incorrectly that the D.C. group would visit Sweden.
The Greater Washington Board of Trade is stepping up its courtship of foreign companies, putting forward its case in writing, and planning at least two European trips soon.
The board of trade has aggressively tried to lure U.S. firms here for many years, and more recently has made discrete advances to companies abroad, as well. The group will press its suit overseas even more intensively this year, stressing the city's finer points: international connections, stability, high incomes and education.
A group from the trade board will go to England soon at the invitation of the London Chamber of Commerce and to Sweden to talk with businesses from the Scandinavian countries, said R. Robert Linowes, partner in Linowes and Blocher and chairman of the board of trade's international committee. The board members will be talking with companies that already have indicated an interest in the Washington area, he said.
When it goes, the entourage will have in hand a new promotion publication, "The Case for Washington International," due to be released later this week. This will be the first time the board's main points in selling Washington overseas have been committed to paper, said Susan Pepper, a board spokeswoman.
The board also has adapted its "Case for Washington" slide show, used in promoting this area to U.S. companies, to the international agenda by translating the show into six languages, Pepper said.
The board's new publication names about 165 internationally based companies already located here.
These range from Brazilian banks to the Bowie Race Course (owned by North Canadian Oil Ltd.) to an Icelandic brickmaker (Glen Gery Co. in Manassas). It includes makers of expensive cars (Rolls Royce in Bethesda) and suppliers for cheap hamburgers (Martin Brower Inc. of Manassas, which supplies McDonald Restaurants).
Others industries represented here by international firms include airlines, electronics, telecommunications, heavy equipment, clothes, insurance and arms manufacturing. The foreign country with the most firms named is Great Britain, followed by Japan (which mainly lists liaison offices, associations and trade organizations) and France.
The promotion material cites the growth of this area's private business sector, which it says now employs two-thirds of the region's work force.
"The growth has been led by manufacturing, aerospace, defense, communications, media, publishing, telecommunications, consulting, research and development, trade associations, warehousing, distribution, engineering and construction operations," the publication says. "This influx has resulted in unprecedented business development for a region once known simply as a government town."
It also points to a high-quality work force.
"The area boasts the country's largest percentage of professional people, technicians, managers and administrators per 1,000 households. More of these households are headed by 25- to 34-year-olds (30 percent) than any other major market. This promises a young and growing work force," it states. "In addition, the area has the fewest work stoppages in the nation."