US companies move staff to foreign posts

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. corporations transferred staff last year to Germany, Australia, China and other major American trading partners, while foreign companies — especially in Europe — posted staff to the U.S., according to a study released Wednesday.

UniGroup Worldwide UTS, a St. Louis, Missouri-based global moving and logistics company, said that a study of more than 25,000 household moves for major corporations in 2011 found the top destinations from the U.S. to be Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, China and Switzerland.

The list of foreign countries that moved staff to the U.S. was topped by the United Kingdom and followed by Germany, China, Ireland and the Netherlands.

In 2010, the first year that UniGroup released data, France had been in the top five of countries with companies moving staff to and from the U.S. In the latest study, France ranked seventh on both lists.

Brian Iles, president of UniGroup Worldwide, told The Associated Press that "internationally, the biggest upswing has been in companies that specialize in mining exploration, gas and oil." Government postings also have been on the rise, he said.

In addition to Australia and China, top Asian destinations for U.S. movers included India, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. Brazil was the top Latin American destination.

Iles said that "while the numbers stay large in Europe, the growth is in Asia." This, he said, is powered in part by the economic strength of China.

"Companies that move to China aren't there just to build and ship things back to the U.S., but to build and sell there," he added.

Among the countries included in corporate moves to the United States were Israel, Canada and South Africa. Iles said that in addition to facilitating trade, the advantage of posting people is that "personal relationships still are a huge part of business."

The top U.S. trading partners in November, according to the most recent government data available, were Canada, China, Mexico, Japan and Germany.

UniGroup Worldwide is a member of UniGroup Inc., which is the parent company of United Van Lines and Mayflower Transit.



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