130th Ohio General Assembly
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H. B. No. 344  As Introduced
As Introduced

129th General Assembly
Regular Session
H. B. No. 344

Representative Barnes 

Cosponsors: Representatives Huffman, Patmon, Antonio, Foley, Hagan, R. 

To enact section 122.86 of the Revised Code to establish the Ohio International Initiative by creating the "SellOhio Global Initiative" within the Department of Development and the Global Initiative on International Relations within the General Assembly to create new, untapped global markets for Ohio businesses and thereby promote job creation, and to make an appropriation.

Section 1.  That section 122.86 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:
Sec. 122.86.  There is hereby established the Ohio international initiative for the purpose of encouraging executive and legislative efforts to promote internationally the state of Ohio and its economy, diplomacy, and humanity and to align Ohio government, market, and industry forces to increase Ohio businesses' access to global market opportunities, thereby enhancing their competitive advantage in world markets and promoting job creation in Ohio.
(A) Within the general assembly, there is hereby created the global initiative on international relations. The global initiative shall, through diplomatic efforts, advance and promote Ohio's education, economy, diplomacy, humanity, and legislative initiatives and build and manage reciprocal relationships with foreign governments as is consistent with the new integrated principle of the global economy. For purposes of this section, "education" includes both public and private institutions of higher education.
The global initiative on international relations shall consist of not less than twenty eligible members of the general assembly, each of whom shall hold the title "Ohio ambassador." Eligible general assembly members are those individuals who serve on any of the following house or senate committees: agriculture and natural resources, economic development and small business, education, or the agriculture and natural resources or higher education subcommittee of the finance and appropriations committee or, if no committee bears any of such names, the standing committees designated to have jurisdiction over such matters. Appointment as an Ohio ambassador is not the holding of a public office for the purposes of Article II, Section 4, Ohio Constitution. Ohio ambassadors shall not be paid for their service, but may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in carrying out their duties under this section. For purposes of such reimbursement, the initiative may seek federal grants available for the purpose of promoting reciprocal commerce. Such grants shall be deposited to the credit of the Ohio ambassador fund, which is hereby created in the state treasury, to be used for the purposes of this division. The fund may also consist of money directed to the fund by the director of development under division (D) of this section.
Members of the house of representatives shall be appointed to the global initiative on international relations by the speaker of the house, and members of the senate shall be appointed by the president of the senate. Members will serve on the initiative at the pleasure of the speaker and president, respectively. The total number of Ohio ambassadors that may be appointed shall be determined on the basis of need, as influenced by the size and number of global economic regions identified by the director of development.
(B) Within the department of development, there is hereby created the SellOhio global initiative. The initiative shall facilitate Ohio businesses' entry or expansion into foreign markets, thereby enhancing Ohio businesses' competitive advantage in world markets and promoting job creation in Ohio. The director of development shall certify individuals as "Ohio business consulates," who the director determines are qualified to provide assistance to Ohio businesses seeking to enter or enhance their presence in foreign markets. Such assistance may include helping Ohio businesses establish relationships with foreign businesses, market or industry trade groups, or regulatory authorities; serving as a broker or intermediary in business transactions; providing information or advice regarding foreign languages and local business and social customs; or promoting Ohio businesses generally. Consulates shall report their activities and accomplishments to the director at intervals and in a manner to be determined by the director.
The director shall certify consulates for Ohio's chief industries and shall establish standards for certification. The standards shall ensure that consulates are market or industry experts and will ethically assist Ohio businesses' entry into or expansion in foreign markets or industries. The director shall maintain a list of certified consulates and their contact information on the department of development's web site. The director shall adopt rules under Chapter 119. of the Revised Code to administer this section. Certification under this section does not, in and of itself, cause an individual to be an employee or agent of any state agency, and no individual shall receive compensation from any state agency for services performed as a consulate.
An agreement shall be required for Ohio business consulates to legally bind Ohio businesses with respect to certain issues to be determined by the director of development and the attorney general, including the license or sale of intellectual property, trademarks, and copyrights.
(C) The Ohio international initiative, through the individual efforts of the global initiative on international relations and the SellOhio global initiative, shall strive to achieve the following goals:
(1) Facilitating logistics for Ohio businesses seeking to use foreign ports and for foreign businesses seeking to use Ohio ports;
(2) Enhancing industry development for Ohio's chief twenty-five industries, as determined by the director of development;
(3) Promoting reciprocal trade activities, such as trade shows;
(4) Holding an annual industry-sponsored reception in the District of Columbia, hosting government and business representatives from key foreign nations;
(5) Enhancing and promoting Ohio's industry of partial manufacturing;
(6) Attraction of foreign investment to Ohio; and
(7) Educational exchange.
(D) The director of development shall publish an Ohio international trade booklet, which shall list businesses in Ohio that could be suppliers to international markets, arranged according to each industry's North American industry classification system. The booklet shall be published and updated as often as the director finds desirable. The costs of publishing the booklet may be paid by fees charged to businesses requesting to be listed in the booklet and from any other fund available for the purpose. If fees paid by such businesses exceed the costs of publication, the director may direct that the excess shall be deposited in the Ohio ambassador fund created by division (A) of this section.
(E) The director shall develop and publish a form on which an Ohio ambassador or Ohio business consulate may share information regarding, and report to the director, contacts established by the ambassador or consulate in foreign countries.
Section 2. On the effective date of this act, or as soon as possible thereafter, the Director of Budget and Management shall transfer $2,000,000 of the fiscal year 2012 appropriation in General Revenue Fund appropriation item 195432, Global Markets, to General Revenue Fund appropriation item 195445, SellOhio Global Initiative. The amount transferred shall be used for the purposes of the SellOhio Global Initiative as set forth in section 122.86 of the Revised Code.
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