Global Commerce

Fulton County’s role as a regional logistics hub, its accessibility to two major deep-water ports, and possession of the busiest airport in the world has attracted an estimated 477 foreign companies to Fulton County. Internationally recognized businesses such as Porsche AG and Mercedes-Benz have headquartered their North American operations in Fulton County, with several Atlanta-based giants, including Coca Cola, exporting internationally as well. All together, Georgia is the 11th largest import state in the United States and the 7th largest import state (2014). In 2014, 39.4 billion dollars in exports and 83.7 billion dollars in imports passed through Georgia’s ports.

Labor Force

Of Fulton County’s 450,000-person labor force, 29,415 employees work for foreign-owned facilities collectively earning about 12.368 billion dollars per year in revenue.

With a population size of over one million, Fulton County’s immediate market is large, urban, and diverse. Additionally, 12.6% (735,000) of the population was born outside of the United States and almost 17% of Fulton County’s population speaks a language different than English at home. Fulton County’s workforce is educated as well, with 48.6% of the population holding at least a bachelor’s degree and about 19% holding a graduate degree or higher.

Educational Programs

Several universities in Fulton County offer international affairs degrees with robust programs emphasizing intercultural understanding and global immersion. These programs prepare students to work effectively in culturally dynamic workplaces in a globalizing world.

  • Georgia Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs
    • Named after the former Georgia Tech student U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, who passed the Department of Defense reorganization act and Nunn-Lagar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program
    • Georgia Tech is unique in that it offers Bachelor of Science in International Affairs, not a Bachelor of Arts. Such a denotation is a reflection of the institute’s efforts to incorporate technology and rigorous quantitative analysis to augment its liberal arts programs.
    • B.S. International Affairs
    • Certificate in International Business
    • Office of International Education
      • Promotes student engagement in internationally-focused classes, global internships, and cultural immersion
    • Georgia Tech Statistics (2015-2016):
      • 4,330 international students
      • 120 countries represented in the student body
      • 58 study abroad locations
      • 1,967 students who have studied or interned abroad
      • 51% of undergraduate students graduate with international experience
  • Emory’s College of Arts and Sciences
  • Georgia State’s Andrew Young School of Policy
    • B.A. International Affairs
    • Institute of International Business
    • Georgia State Statistics (2015-2016):
      • 1,600 students from 117 countries
      • 18 international student organizations
      • 149 study-exchange agreements with 59 countries
      • Strategic task force created comprising of 110 faculty members dedicated to further internationalizing Georgia State through cooperation and collaboration with these nations
        • Five country focus includes Brazil, China, Korea, South Africa, and Turkey
  • Spelman College:
  • Morehouse College:
  • Clark University:

Site Selection Information

In regards to national geography, Fulton County’s ideal location and port access, 80% of the U.S. population can be reached by truck in two days or by airplane in two hours. Georgia possesses 1,253 miles of highway and 5,000 miles of rail, making markets within the state easier to access as well. The Hartsfield-Jackson itself, located within a tax-reducing Foreign Trade Zone, holds 1.2 million square feet of cargo and 2 miles of mechanized conveyors. It also possesses the Southeast’s only Perishables Complex and serves 2,500 daily departures and arrivals.

The county seat of Fulton, Atlanta, is currently one of the six cities with a fully operating Google Fiber Network. Google Fiber offers residents, small businesses, and corporations access to one of the most advanced fiber optic networks. A fiber optic network offers users access to the highest speeds of internet capability. With an impeccable speed of one gigabyte per second, Google Fiber gives endless opportunities in a more competitive technological market. In addition to providing the fastest internet capabilities, Google Fiber raises property value. For example, a fiber optic network adds roughly $5,250 to the value of a $300,000 estate.[1]


Incentives Specific to Global Firms

  • Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ’s)
    • Offer delayed, reduced, and sometimes eliminated, duty payment on foreign merchandise admitted into a zone
    • 250-acre, FTZ #26 spreads through many areas of Fulton County, including the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport
  • Port Tax Credit Bonus
    • Available to taxpayers who qualify for the Job Tax Credit or the Investment Tax Credit, and they increase imports or exports through a Georgia port by 10 percent over the previous or base year. Credits may be used to offset up to 50 percent of the company’s corporate income tax liability.  Unused credits may be carried forward for 10 years, provided that the increase in port traffic remains above levels established in year one for eligibility and that the company continues to meet the job or investment tax credit requirements. Note that the Port Tax Credit Bonus cannot be utilized with the Quality Jobs Tax Credit.
  • “Freeport”
    • Fulton county offers Freeport exemption and each city within it at the 100% level meaning that there is no tax on personal goods in warehouses transferring to an out-of-state location for less than 12 months
  • Employment-Based Fifth Preference Visa Opportunity (EB5)
    • Through this unique program, a visa can be granted to an investor if:
      • A minimum amount between $500,000 and $1,000,000 is invested into a private, for-profit venture
      • The investment maintains at least ten full time eligible American workers
      • The business created must be deemed “non-troubled”
        • Must be in existence for at least two years
        • No net loss before the first 12-24 month period before the determined priority date on the investor’s original I-526 form
  • Quality Jobs Tax Credit
    • 5,000$ per job for creating at least 50 jobs that pay 110% of the county’s average wage
  • Research and Development Tax Credit
    • Earned through a portion of a company’s increase in R&D spending for up to 50% of net Georgia income tax liability which can be carried forward up to 10 years if unused
    • Excess R&D tax credits can be used against state payroll withholding
  • Employee Training
    • Georgia’s “QuickStart” program
      • Working with the Technical College System of Georgia, QuickStart provides comprehensive workforce training services from pre-employment assessment to help companies choose the best qualified employees through customized, job-specific training
    • ICAPP (Intellectual Capital Partnership Program)
      • Assists businesses using the resources of Georgia’s higher education system to match employers with the best employees to meet their demands; free business advice and recent research is also offered through the ICAPP
    • Workforce Development Programs
      • Offered by Fulton County to design communities with viable, robust workforces for residents and employers alike


Prominent Foreign Companies Headquartered in Fulton County

  • Porsche AG, 2015 (Atlanta location – Employees: 400; Annual Sales Revenue: $24.1 billion)
  • Mercedes-Benz, 2015 (Atlanta location – Employees: 950; Annual Sales Revenue: $105.8 billion)

Top Ten Investor Countries in GA in order

  1. Japan (24,781)
  2. Germany (22,437 employees)
  3. United Kingdom (18,985)
  4. Canada (16,929)
  5. The Netherlands (14,711)
  6. France (10,768)
  7. Ireland (7,185)
  8. Switzerland (6,533)
  9. Sweden (6,565)
  10. Mexico (2,857)


Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce (MAC)

The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s Global Business Growth team provides key support to local Atlanta companies doing business internationally and helps international companies open offices or facilities in metro Atlanta.

Consulates, Trade Offices & Chambers

There are consular and trade offices representing 79 countries in metro Atlanta.  These offices focus on developing economic, commercial, scientific, and cultural relations between the countries they represent and any given business.

There are more than 12 independent institutions in Atlanta dedicated to promoting trade and investment and 38 Bi-National Chambers of Commerce.

Sister Governments

Fulton County’s sister governments with in synergy with Fulton County to facilitate business-oriented information exchange, business representation, and communication with international governments. Each of Fulton County’s sister governments has a unique relationship with the county and have been chosen based on their demographic and market-oriented similarities to Fulton County.

  • State of Bahia, Brazil
    • Key Industries: Chemical and Petrochemical, Mining, Automotive, Fuel, Agriculture
  • Montserrado, Liberia
    • Key Industries: Mining, Fishing, Logging, Agriculture, Charcoal Production
  • Cote d’Ivoire
    • Key Industries: Cocoa Bean Production, Agriculture, Crude Petroleum Extraction

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Global Commerce - Fulton County, GA