TITLE OF BILL:
to amend the executive law, the education law
and the economic development law,
in relation to establishing an international
division within the department of state
To establish an International Division of the Department of State to
establish and maintain International Sister States relationships
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of the bill amends Section 92 of the Executive Law to
include the director of the International Division as one of the
appointees of the Secretary of State. A new section 108 is added to
the Executive Law to establish the new international division within
the Department of State. It defines the role of the division to be
soliciting, establishing and maintaining sister state relation
between New York and states in other countries. This will be done
through a partnership with the department of economic development by
establishing a network of information resources. The focus will be on
international exchange of commerce, education, and culture.
Section 2 of the bill amends Section 355 of the Education Law to
direct the State University Trustees to work in cooperation with the
international division to establish, facilitate and maintain the
exchange of students and faculty with such sister states.
Section 3 of the bill adds Section 226 to the Economic Development Law
to provide that the provisions of Article 10 (International Trade)
shall be implemented by the Commissioner of Economic Development in
consultation with the international division.
Section 4 of the bill provides that the act shall take effect
A Sister State Program was enacted in the State of Maryland in 1980 to
establish a forum for cooperation and to build mutual understanding.
It serves as a conduit for cultural, commercial and economic exchange
between states from different countries and the state of Maryland.
Maryland has ten sister states in ten different countries (China.
France, Liberia, Japan, Mexico,
Russia, Poland, Belgium, Brazil, and South Korea). Other states also
adopted a Sister State Program, including Wisconsin, Idaho, Iowa,
Arkansas, Ohio, and Hawaii.
The State of Maryland benefits from foreign investment to boost its
economy. According to the International Trade Administration, in
2008, foreign-controlled companies employed 108,600 Maryland workers.
Major sources of foreign investment in Maryland in 2008 included
Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada, and France. Foreign
investment in Maryland was responsible for 5.1 percent of the state's
total private-industry employment in 2008. The state's largest market
in 2009 was Canada, which received exports of $1.3 billion, or 14% of
the state's 2009 total. Canada was followed by China ($566 million).
Egypt ($478 million), Mexico ($430 million), and Sweden ($399 million).
New York State had previous experience with a similar program under
Governor Mario Cuomo. The program was called the "International
Partner Program" and it was administered by the New York State
Department of Economic Development. The program had a great success
and built partnerships with states from China, Israel, Italy, and
Poland. However, the program stopped after Governor Mario Cuomo left
office in 1994.
Given the economic potentials of the State of New York, the Sister
State Program would be invaluable in promoting trade and economic
development with foreign states. Building on the existing robust
foreign investment arena, New York can increase its share of foreign
investment-related employment by attracting business from foreign
states with a high economic potential. The international division
will coordinate this exchange by reaching out to states that have the
potential to invest in New York. Further, the same division will
serve as the mediator between the different state and local
commissions, agencies, and authorities and the foreign investors to
facilitate the administrative procedures.
The Sister States Program can also build on the cosmopolitan nature of
New York State to establish a bridge between the US and the rest of
the world. The cultural exchange that this division will undertake is
critical to building mutual understanding. New York State has always
been a place where different cultures and faiths coexisted. This
division shall spread this spirit of tolerance to other parts of the
world and build stronger cultural' ties with foreign states.
The division will also serve as an international education pioneer for
New York State.
Through a partnership with the State University of New York
International Program Office, the division will break new ground to
attract students from local universities of partnering states to
boost an already outstanding international program that currently
attracts 16,000 international students. Further, the division will
work with existing programs at SUNY to attract scholars and
professors from foreign universities to enrich the educational system
of SUNY and promote its scientific research programs.
To be determined.