Cities are poised to become trade and investment leaders by focusing on stakeholder networks, human capital and connective infrastructure, says a study by the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA).

Global Connections, Local Growth” polled WTCA members in more than 300 cities in almost 100 countries, said the WTCA in a release. The study found 71% of members believe that a “significant disruption in trade and investment is likely to occur this year with investments being put on hold amid global economic uncertainty.”

Amidst this uncertainty, cities are growing through greater integration with the global economy. City leaders are focused on competitiveness and connectivity to increase local growth. The study found three factors—human capital, connective infrastructure and synergies between local and global networks—are differentiating cities. Access to a skilled workforce and migration are essential to their competitiveness, it said.

Specifically;

  • strategic partnerships between global and local stakeholders are a key factor for cities competing for foreign direct investment (FDI) and looking to expand local businesses’ access to new markets;
  • hard infrastructure, a skilled workforce and digital connectivity allow cities to differentiate themselves and remain competitive; and
  • small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) drive local growth and employment, accounting for 70% of jobs in the OECD. However, the number of SMEs involved in trade tends to be less than 10%.

Read the full report here.

Read:

Global CEOs realistic about growth given headwinds: survey

Geopolitical risk indicators rising: BlackRock

Why a bad NAFTA deal is better than no deal at all