From Oregon Economic Development Guide 2022

Why the World Comes to Oregon

A Globally diverse population calls the Beaver State home.


Oregon offers a variety of programs to facilitate the growth of foreign direct investment and trade throughout the state.

From the state’s Export Promotion Program and overseas offices in Japan and Europe to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa program, Oregon is working overtime to ensure that global companies find a welcome mat in the Beaver State and that Oregon-based companies have many opportunities to share their products and services with the world.

According to a report from SelectUSA, foreign-owned affiliates employ more than 71,100 Oregonians. In 2020, the top industry sectors for FDI projects in Oregon were software and IT, business services, chemicals, communications and automotive OEMs.

More than 41,000 of these jobs are in the Greater Portland region. According to Greater Portland Inc., top industries for FDI employment in the metro area are software, clean tech/sustainability, computers and electronics, metal manufacturing and wood products.

The Brookings Institution reports that FDI accounts for 4.8% of all private employment in Greater Portland. Among the success stories in the region are Adidas and Vestas. At its North American headquarters in Portland, German-owned Adidas employs more than 900 people working in design, sales, operations, information technology, finance, marketing, human resources and other administrative jobs.

Oregon excels at recruiting FDI projects because it boasts a globally diverse population. 
In Greater Portland, more than 292,000 people are foreign-born.


Vestas, the only global energy company dedicated exclusively to wind energy, moved its American headquarters in 2002 from California to Greater Portland. To date, the company has made more than $1 billion in U.S. investments and has hired more than 1,200 workers in the U.S. Other FDI success stories in Oregon include Daimler North America, Shimadzu and Simple.

One reason Oregon excels at recruiting FDI projects is because it boasts a globally diverse population. In Greater Portland alone, more than 292,000 people — or 12.6% of the total population — are foreign-born, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. About 36% are from Latin America, 34% are from Asia, 10% are from Europe, and the remainder are from Africa, Oceania and North America. From 2003 to 2013, international migration accounted for 19% of the total population growth in Greater Portland.

Oregon is also a well-known gateway for international students. According to the Brookings Institution, about 5,000 international students are enrolled at colleges and universities in Greater Portland, not counting community colleges. After graduating, about 58% of these students receive work authorization under the Optional Practical Training program to stay and work for a Greater Portland employer from 12 to 29 months — the 10th highest rate in the U.S.

Here are other key statistics related to FDI and trade in Oregon:

  • The top sources of FDI in Oregon are Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
  • The top 5 source city-regions for FDI employment in Greater Portland are Stuttgart, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; Munich, Germany; Paris, France; and Aberdeen, Scotland, according to Greater Portland Inc.
  • The top 5 FDI employment sectors in Greater Portland are manufacturing, transportation, retail, wholesale, and finance and insurance, according to Greater Portland Inc. 

For more information on resources available to assist in FDI and trade, contact Jill Miles, senior business recruitment officer at Business Oregon, by phone at 503-551-0997 or by email at Jill.A.MILES@biz.oregon.gov.

Ron Starner
Executive Vice President of Conway, Inc.

Ron Starner

Ron Starner is Executive Vice President of Conway Data, Inc. He has been with Conway Data for 22 years and serves as a writer and editor for both Site Selection and the company's Custom Content publishing division. His Twitter handle is @RonStarner.


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