I want to offer my support for the Here for America initiative, which tells an important story about the global automotive industry, and how it is creating jobs and strong communities throughout the United States and in South Carolina.
International automakers play a vital role in the ongoing prosperity of the Palmetto State. South Carolina has enjoyed tremendous manufacturing growth over the past 10 years, averaging 17 percent. So much of that success is due to our relationships with international automakers — including BMW in Greer, Daimler in Ladson and now Volvo in Ridgeville. To date, international automakers have invested $8.1 billion in South Carolina, with more expected in the future.
It’s a shining example of the ever-growing international footprint present across South Carolina. We have 1,200 international firms with operations here, employing a nation-leading 7 percent of our workforce. Just this morning, more than 64,500 South Carolinians went to work at jobs created by international automakers, who last year produced more than 400,000 South Carolina-built vehicles. Due in no small part to the faith these manufacturers have placed in our workforce, we are now the nation’s number one exporter of completed automobiles, with South Carolina accounting for 18 percent of the total U.S. automotive sales export market.
America’s commitment to open trade and investment policies is critical to the continued development of the U.S. automotive industry. Extending these policies through common sense trade agreements has played a role in the success of South Carolina, too. The four automotive models now manufactured here are exported around the world to customers in 140 countries and territories.
I am so grateful for Here for America, which is doing its part to educate policymakers and the public alike about the significant investment, presence and impact of the international automotive industry in the United States and in South Carolina.
Yours very truly,