Future of Free Trade Debated at LiveXchange 2017

A spirited panel discussion at BF's 13th annual event analyzed the impact of Brexit and NAFTA negotiations.

The 13th Annual Business Facilities’ LiveXchange event kicked off at the Hyatt Centric Park City in Park City, UT this week with an inspirational keynote delivered by Olympic Champion Billy Demong, who participated in five consecutive Winter Olympics as a member of the U.S. ski team and in 2010 became the first American to win a gold medal in Nordic skiing.

LiveXchange 2017
Olympic Champion Billy Demong related his training experience to successful business practices, including strategic planning, efficiency and innovation.

LiveXchange 2017 also featured a spirited panel discussion in which industry experts and attendees debated whether the current upheaval surrounding Brexit and NAFTA marks the beginning of the end of free trade.

LiveXchange 2017 brought together dozens of representatives from major economic development agencies in a series of face-to-face dealmaking sessions with corporate site selectors seeking locations for pre-certified projects involving new facilities, expansions and relocations. Corporate delegates who brought project plans to this year’s event included Fortune 500 giants Lockheed Martin, 3M and Tractor Supply.

Group C Media Co-President Ted Coene, who created the unique LiveX concept more than a decade ago, hailed LiveXchange 2017 as the most successful of the series.

“The response from our attendees to our annual event has been amazing,” Coene said. “Each year, more and more of them confirm to us that the LiveX formula combining intimate business meetings with informal, enjoyable networking offers them an unmatched dealmaking opportunity. They tell us it’s perfect for them and they can’t find anything like it in our industry.”

Coene added, “LiveXchange offers the most measurable return available for two well-spent days of business travel. No other event delivers a customized itinerary that puts site selectors at the same table with the locations they’re considering for projects and showcases industry leaders presenting informative seminars on key issues confronting economic development, while making sure everyone has a great time at a high-quality venue.”

Coene announced the next LiveXchange will take place May 6-8, 2018 at The Edgewater in Madison, WI.   

Demong, who lives in Park City and currently is the Global Marketing Director at Reynolds Cycling, detailed the rigors of training for the Nordic Combined event (a combination of ski jumping and cross-country skiing) at five consecutive Olympics. With a spectacular vista of the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop at the 2017 LiveXchange venue, he related his training experience to successful business practices, including strategic planning, efficiency and innovation.

LiveXchange 2017
The LiveX panel discussion, BREXIT, NAFTA: The Beginning of the End of Free Trade? was led by Business Facilities Editor in Chief Jack Rogers and fDi Magazine Editor in Chief Courtney Fingar.

“You have to maximize all of these to come out on top in business and athletics,” he said.

Demong anchored a U.S. ski team whose team silver in Nordic Skiing enabled the overall U.S. team to top the medals board at the Winter Olympics for the first time in history. He also overcame some imposing challenges to maintain his unbroken string of five consecutive Olympics appearances, including a year-long recovery from a fractured skull that resulted from a fall during a training exercise.

The LiveX panel discussion, entitled BREXIT, NAFTA: The Beginning of the End of Free Trade? was led by Business Facilities Editor in Chief Jack Rogers and fDi Magazine Editor in Chief Courtney Fingar.

Fingar, an Alabama native, revealed that just before flying from her London office to attend the event in Utah, she and her husband applied for and received dual citizenship from the U.K. She said the uncertainty created by the Brexit referendum, in which a majority of British voters opted to leave the European Union, prompted her and her husband to quickly clarify their status.

“Everyone in a similar position is doing it, because we just don’t know what’s going to happen as a result of the Brexit vote,” she said.

LiveXchange 2017
Allea Newbold, principal of Ryan LLC, conducted a session on Evaluating and Negotiating Incentives.

Fingar predicted that the Brexit vote may have grave implications for the future success of the British economy, noting that major financial players already are relocating from the U.K. and the uncertainty regarding upcoming trade negotiations between the U.K. and the EU (as well as the fate of NAFTA negotiations) already is altering long-established patterns of foreign direct investment.

Rogers gave the audience what he called “a reality check” on some of the successes generated by the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, including a tripling of U.S. exports and $18 billion worth of agricultural products shipped from the U.S. to Mexico in 2016.

‘“Hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs depend on NAFTA and the truly hemispheric supply chain it created,” Rogers said. “Parts and goods are going back and forth across our borders as the U.S., Canada and Mexico create North American products that can compete in a cost-competitive global marketplace.”

Industry experts presenting seminars in the LiveXchange 2017 program included Allea Newbold, principal of Ryan LLC, who conducted a session on Evaluating and Negotiating Incentives; Adam Wasserman, Managing Parner, GLD Partners (The Evolution of the Global Supply Chain); Angelos Angelou, Principal Executive Officer/Chief Strategist, AngelouEconomics (Mentoring Entrepreneurship); and Jerry Szatan, Founder and Principal, Szatan Associates (Issues in Facility Consolidation Analysis).

To register for LiveXchange 2018 in Madison, WI, contact Neil Eisenberg, Group C Vice President of Marketing and Audience Development, at neisenberg@groupc.com.