Ted Simons: The Global Cities Initiative is a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, it’s an effort to help strengthen the global competitiveness of metropolitan areas. The initiative recently held a forum in Phoenix. Curtis Reed, Jr., Market Manager for Arizona, Chase spoke at the event, and he joins us now. It’s good to have you here.
Curtis Reed, Jr.: Good to be here.
Ted Simons: Give me a better definition of the Global Cities Initiative.
Curtis Reed, Jr: The Global Cities Initiative is an initiative between JPMorgan Chase and the Brookings Institute to really have a goal of reaching 100 metro cities and developing a program, a strategy, around increasing exports within that city so that it can vitalize the economy, create jobs, and at this point we have actually 21 metros have signed up and then we have actually reached of 20 those 21.
Ted Simons: Goal faster job growth and faster job growth now I would imagine.
Curtis Reed, Jr: Absolutely. I think everyone would agree that jobs are an important part of growing our economy and exports have become such a big part of that that it's almost- it's critical that metro areas participate in that.
Ted Simons: And you're talking global exports here for the most part or not?
Curtis Reed, Jr: Global mostly, right. So as we think about global trade, when you think about our partners obviously to the south of us, Mexico, North Canada, being natural but also trade whether it's with Europe or Asia, really across the globe.
Ted Simons: Are cities- Obviously the initiative is there for a reason, there can be some improvement. The cities not doing as much as they could along those lines?
Curtis Reed, Jr: Well, you think about our state at Arizona, you're the backbone has always been construction. It's been somewhat of a boom and bust from that perspective. So really, the goal is as we look at the economy, to increase the exports. If you look at really our exports in Arizona, they have declined over the last seven, eight years roughly 37% while the broader economy has actually improved by 75%.
Ted Simons: Why is that? What happened there?
Curtis Reed, Jr: Well there was a, I mentioned the real estate, tie to real estate, and so I think that sort of hid a lot of what you would normally see. And so when the downturn happened, I think it really exposed. Then there was a heavy reliance on computer and electronics industry. When that sort of tailed off, there was a dramatic reduction in the total exports.
Ted Simons: I know the state is awfully dependent on consumption as well. How do you shape the dependence, the Phoenix dependence, on construction, on consumption?
Curtis Reed, Jr: Well the goal of the initiative is really three things. We have dedicated 15$ million to the Brookings Institute to really help with this, is first you need the research and the data. So for Phoenix proper really the goal is let's come in, let's produce the data, let's agree where weaknesses are, where strengths are, and then let's convene our public and private partners to really come together, share ideas, talk about sort of common themes. Then like anything else it's about the execution. So let's have an exchange to talk about those ideas and then build a strategy that we all can agree on and hold ourselves accountable to.
Ted Simons: Has the execution in other urban areas, municipalities, are they models that Phoenix can look at, are they models Phoenix can say we don't want to be a part of that, what’s going on out there?
Curtis Reed, Jr: That's the beauty of not being first. And so we have seen a number of cities, Chicago, San Diego, Dallas, that have actually entered into this and we're able to look at those models and determine what are some of the common things or things that we can learn as a city, things that they didn't do or can do better.
Ted Simons: So how can Phoenix basically reposition itself as a center for the global economy, for global exports, the whole nine yards?
Curtis Reed, Jr: Well the first key, we talked a lot about this at the initiative, is we really need the business community to buy into this. That there's really benefit to thinking globally and thinking about the business and expanding it globally. And the only way to do this is through education and through sort of you know thoughtful analysis to show if they are able to increase their business through global trade that will then improve the bottom line, increase revenues, then there's benefits for the society as a whole is obviously job creation. And so on and so forth.
Ted Simons: That's interesting you say that that you have to get the business community to buy into this. I would think the business community would be jumping at this. Why would they not buy into this?
Curtis Reed, Jr: Well I think like anything else, I think what you don't know, perhaps, you don't know. So I think a lot of the comments we heard from some of the people at the Global Cities Initiative is they want more education around this. They want a better understanding. So it's not simple to say I want to do business in China. Well how do you do it? We're fortunate at JPMorgan Chase that we work with our clients constantly and advise them in terms of you know reaching other countries, or doing business in other countries. Really the initiative here is about education, teaching sort of what are some of the things out there, the tools, the resources that the business community can tap into, and then feel more confident that they can enter into a global competition.
Ted Simons: We talked about you know the high-tech bubble, if you will, construction, consumption, the challenges facing the Phoenix region. What are the region’s strengths?
Curtis Reed, Jr: Well the strengths are that there's a tremendous amount of people that continue to come to Arizona. I'm a perfect example of that. I'm 65 days in Arizona from Chicago.
Ted Simons: Really? Well welcome to summer in Arizona. Have a good time.
Curtis Reed, Jr: Thank you. Thank you. But the reality is you've got a tremendous draw, and that is what is needed actually to continue to be competitive as you want people coming into your state. The key is how do we then use those resources appropriately? We need to have jobs. We need to make sure that people want to stay here, that it's an area that they want to raise their children and continue to be prosperous.
Ted Simons: Response from the event, from the initiative, what are you hearing so far?
Curtis Reed, Jr: Excellent. Everyone that I have spoken to or have come up to me, the feedback has been tremendous, but I think there's a little cautious optimism. I think like a number of different initiatives it really comes down to the execution. So I think we have great framework but the key will be how will we -- what will our strategy be and then how will we execute it?
Ted Simons: Is the equation though a little different, moving the goal posts a little bit here in this area, because we attract so many people, because we had such a construction dependence, can you look much at an Atlanta or a Chicago or a San Diego? Is there that much to compare to?
Curtis Reed, Jr: Yes, I think so. I mean look, clearly there's a number of positives here that I talked about, which is a number of people coming here. But I think we can look at those cities and look at how are they currently partnering with other countries or thinking about global trade or what are some things that they have done historically to attract businesses to their states and their cities. I think we can learn a lot from those cities. I think it's important that we -- like the Global Cities Initiative actually, that's the benefit, because we can bring sort of that background and insight to Phoenix.
Ted Simons: All right, good stuff. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.
Curtis Reed, Jr: Thank you.
Ted Simons: And tomorrow on Arizona Horizon we will talk about new rules for power plant emissions and we'll hear about efforts to keep hungry people fed during the summer. That's tomorrow evening, 5:30 and 10:00, right here on Arizona Horizon. That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons, thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.