Nichols College Professor Edward Socha introduced guest speaker Massachusetts Senator Richard T. Moore to his freshman and sophomore Business & Society students on Friday, April 8th, for a state legislator’s view of global business opportunities. Massachusetts has been intrinsically linked to foreign commerce since the earliest days of U.S. history.
“Senator Moore’s 40 years of public service brings a wealth of experience to our campus,” said Socha as he opened the session. “He certainly knows our competition from his visit to China and will discuss how technology companies in this state are positioning competitively abroad.”
Senator Moore gave an overview of how states play an important role in furthering international economic ties. He supplied extensive handouts for the students about the role of government in the economy, the need for trade reform, private sector involvement in international trade, and how to contact international trade organizations.
The world’s major economies, represented by the World Trade Organization's“Group of Eight”: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union (ex-officio), has been expanded to include the rapidly emerging economies of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa. “Many times people don’t think of the states in terms of the global economy,” said Senator Moore. “And yet, a lot of what really goes on is the interaction of businesses within states with businesses in other countries.”
Moore discussed perceptions about jobs going overseas and our increased dependence on outside energy resources. “Sending millions of dollars annually overseas to countries that generally don’t like us is not good for our economy or our security,” he pointed out.
“There’s been a shift in the last 25 years from formal treaties to trade agreements that don’t necessarily require congressional approval,” said Senator Moore. “States and their agencies often organize trade missions to promote economic activity.” He gave as an example the University of Massachusetts' trade agreements with China and Israel and other countries to share faculty, students and research.
As President of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Moore recently established a task force to help state legislatures better understand how they can work with other countries to promote economic development and jobs here at home. And in the Massachusetts General Court, Senator Moore is a member of two legislative committees which promote international trade: The Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee and The Tourism, the Arts and Humanities Committee. “The third largest business in Massachusetts is tourism,” said Moore, “and there are a lot of related businesses that thrive off it.”
Senator Moore noted that there are businesses in this area that are subsidiaries of larger foreign companies, such as Dudley’s Gentex Optics (Essilor-French) and Webster’s Commerce Insurance (Maphre-Spain). As well, there are local firms which operate internationally, such as Atlas Box and Crating, with its world headquarter in Sutton, MA, and with a European headquarters in Ireland and Asian headquarters in China. Therefore, Senator Moore has been invited to participate in international visits (not at the taxpayer’s expense!) to strengthen ties with the parent company’s leadership and ensure continued employment for his constituents.
Senator Moore emphasized that business students need to understand the culture of another country, as well as its language, and encouraged students to learn more about the Massachusetts Office of International Trade & Investment and the Massachusetts Export Center.
He concluded:“When you start to interview for employment with Massachusetts’ companies, your ability to demonstrate an understanding of strategies for growing the business globally will certainly give you a competitive edge in this job market.”