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Panel: Growth will continue in 2017

Manufacturing
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Mike Briggs, president and CEO of the Central South Carolina Alliance, says the region is well positioned for future business growth.

Mike Briggs speaks as part of a panel at the Power Breakfast in Columbia Thursday. (Photo/Chuck Crumbo)“We spend a lot of time marketing our region,” Briggs said. “The project pipeline is as robust as I have seen it. We are back above where we were before the recession.”

Briggs offered the comments as part of a panel at the Power Breakfast Series presented by the Columbia Regional Business Report at the Doubletree by Hilton. Joining Briggs on the panel were Ryan Coleman, director of the City of Columbia’s Office of Economic Development, Mike Eades, economic development director in Lexington County and Nelson Lindsay, director of global business development at the S.C. Commerce Department and former Richland County economic development director.

The major project in the region is China Jushi, which is expected to bring in $300 million and 400 jobs in its first phase of development. In total, Jushi’s investment could total as much as $500 million and create a total of 800 jobs.

Briggs said he expects more Asian companies to make the move to the United States, and South Carolina is a prime spot.

“The pressures of manufacturing in the United States, and to provide product in the United States market will bring Asian companies here,” Briggs said. “No longer can the Asian companies sit back and manufacture in Asia and ship, because the shipping cost deferential has changed.”

Briggs said he expects more European firms to be making a push to the United States as well.

“There are a lot of things going on in Europe right now, including the economy being down,” Briggs said. “It’s expected to remain down, so business will be looking to move.”

Briggs said there is still a lot of land up and down the Central SC Alliance footprint, and his group is well prepared to receive those things. He said the group has been to Sweden three times over the last two years to visit Volvo, and expects Boeing to continue to grow in Charleston.

“I think we are well set up for the next 10 years.” Briggs said. “Barring something crazy, there continues to be a tremendous amount of interest.”

Central SC Alliance, which recruits capital investment and jobs to the region. It represents nine counties – Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, McCormick, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland – and the City of Columbia.

Reach Travis Boland at 803-726-7543.

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