Posted at 10:01 AM
Today, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews delivered remarks at the FDI Frontlines Coalition event in Washington, D.C. The Organization for International Investment (OFII) has been working with Members of Congress to launch a Global Investment in America Caucus. They have tapped into a network of U.S. state and local economic developers that they have formed called the “FDI Frontlines Coalition” to bring local voices into the discussion with Members.
In his remarks, Deputy Secretary Andrews highlighted the importance of foreign direct investment (FDI) to America’s economy and congratulated OFII and Members of Congress on their efforts to make America an attractive investment destination. Deputy Secretary Andrews stressed the importance of the SelectUSA summit and highlighted the success of this year’s summit and encouraged Members of Congress to continue to support SelectUSA.
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Thank you for that warm welcome, Nancy. I’m grateful to be here today for the launch of the Global Investment in America Caucus. I want to thank the Organization for International Investment (OFII) for its leadership in attracting investment into the United States. On behalf of Secretary Pritzker, I want to make it clear how grateful we are to have OFII as a partner.
On the heels of a very successful SelectUSA Summit, this event is well-timed and extremely important. The report Nancy just described makes clear that attracting foreign direct investment – or FDI – is critical for our country. It is an economic growth strategy that is both common sense and good policy. This caucus is proving that FDI is also a bipartisan effort – something I saw firsthand at the Summit over the past few days.
Before I begin, I want to acknowledge the co-founders of the Global Investment in America Caucus: Congressman George Holding of North Carolina, Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut, Congressman Andy Barr of Kentucky, and Congressman Mike Honda of California. Thank you Congressmen for your leadership on this issue. Like you, we at the Department of Commerce, are committed to making America an even more attractive investment destination.
Let’s be clear about why we are here and why we all care so much about attracting FDI: foreign investment drives economic growth. FDI-supported jobs strengthen our middle-class. U.S. affiliates of foreign companies employ over six million Americans. And these jobs pay well too. In 2013, wages and compensation in FDI-supported jobs averaged nearly $80,000 – that’s almost $20,000 more than the average American earned that same year. And as we heard at this year’s SelectUSA summit, attracting more FDI helps connect our country to the global economy.
Not only does FDI increase prosperity here at home, it also enables our country to compete more effectively in the world’s interconnected economy. We live in a world where 96 percent of the consumers live outside the United States. At the Commerce Department, we work every day to help U.S. firms reach these customers. Our efforts are often made easier when American manufacturers are supported by FDI. In fact, FDI-supported companies account for more than a one-fifth of all U.S. exports.
And while the United States is already a magnet for global investment, we must continue to make the case that America is the right place for a global investor to open their next factory, their next sales office, or their next R&D center. That’s where SelectUSA comes in. At the Department of Commerce, our SelectUSA team works to make the process of investing in America as easy as possible. We provide regional economic data to help guide investment decisions, we connect foreign investors to economic development organizations from across the country, and we help foreign companies navigate the U.S. regulatory system.
For those that attended, you know that our efforts were on full display during this year’s Summit. We brought together 2,400 registered participants from 70 markets and 52 states and territories, 22 U.S. Chiefs of Mission who led delegations of investors, and 20 federal agencies. Investors heard from President Obama, Secretary Pritzker, and several members of the cabinet. As President Obama said, there is no better place to invest than the United States and no better time to invest than now.
As successful as the Summit was, the work of SelectUSA is a daily undertaking – one that we believe must be made permanent. That’s why we were pleased to announce a date for the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit – which will take place June 18th to 20th next year at the Gaylord Hotel in National Harbor, Maryland. The announcement of next year’s summit makes clear that SelectUSA will provide global investors with the services they need well into the future.
But ultimately, only Congress can ensure SelectUSA is permanently authorized. Congress has funded SelectUSA since Fiscal Year 2014, but has not yet provided permanent authorization. That is why we are excited that legislation has been introduced in the House and will soon be introduced in the Senate to make SelectUSA permanent. H.R. 1007 – the Get Reinvesting in Opportunities for Workers American Jobs Act – was introduced in the House by Congressman Raul Ruiz of California.
Our nation’s ability to attract FDI has never been more important. In today’s global economy, capital is more mobile than ever. Decades ago, states across America competed against each other for business. Today, the entire country is competing against the rest of the world. Put simply: there is a global race for capital.
We are competing with China, Mexico, India, and Europe for investment. And guess what? Our competitors all have agencies devoted to attracting FDI. We need the same. We need a world-class, government-wide investment promotion program. We believe that program is SelectUSA. Permanent authorization will ensure that the program spans administrations. It would send a clear message to our competitors that we are not only going to compete for investment – we intend to win.
Already, there are countless SelectUSA success stories. Let me share one with you from Phoenix, Arizona. Just a few weeks ago, the Swiss-based Kudelski Group announced that it would establish a “second headquarters” in Phoenix. SelectUSA helped make that possible by providing the company with counseling and guidance. As a result, the Kudelski Group, which specializes in digital content distribution and security, will create hundreds of new jobs for the people of Phoenix. And – because our economies are so tightly linked – the deal will expand the economy across Arizona; and strengthen supply chains across the country.
We have success stories like this one in every corner of the country. But we need to make more of them. So let’s continue working to give investors the tools and resources they need to invest in America. Let’s ensure SelectUSA is here to stay.
In closing, let me say this: over the past few days, I had the privilege to meet with investor delegations from several countries. My message to all of them was the same: the United States is a great place to innovate, to invest, and to grow a business. I know that with the help of this group, we can take that message to more people, in more places. We can give investors the long-term confidence they need to build their next manufacturing facility here in the United States…or open their next sales office…or their next R&D center. It is a task that we at the Commerce Department are excited to work with you – together – to achieve. Thank you.