Posted at 10:49 AM
Today, no other country attracts more foreign direct investment than the United States.
Cities and towns across America are benefiting from the international firms that have become vital members of their communities – from Mercedes-Benz in Charleston, South Carolina to Kudelski Group in Phoenix, Arizona. Companies like these make valuable contributions not only to our local economies, but also to our nation’s economy at large.
Foreign companies are responsible for more than one quarter of all U.S. goods exports and contribute to our innovation climate through investments in research and development. And, every day, 12 million people go to work at jobs supported by foreign direct investment.
Put simply, foreign investment makes the United States more prosperous, more innovative, and more competitive. In the aftermath of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, international firms played a critical role in helping America move from recession to recovery. Between 2009 and 2013, when investment capital retreated to the sidelines, foreign investment in the United States increased every year.
To build on this success, we must work hard to continually improve the investment climate across our nation and attract new businesses to our shores.
Recognizing that the United States is competing with countries around the world to win investment, President Obama created the first ever-national program to attract foreign investment to America’s shores. Since its launch in 2011, SelectUSA has served as the connective tissue between foreign investors and the American market, facilitating more than $22.5 billion in investment into the United States.
For business leaders, our teams in Washington, across the country, and in more than 75 markets around the world provide information on how to establish operations in the United States, navigate federal rules and regulations, understand the changes in our economy; and connect with state and local economic development organizations. For cities, counties, states, and economic development professionals, SelectUSA helps communities identify their strengths, develop a strategy, and connect them to potential partners and investors.
In just five years, SelectUSA has truly become an economic necessity. Economic development organizations and foreign firms alike need the certainty of knowing they can continue to rely on SelectUSA’s services.
While President Obama created the program through an Executive Order, it is now up to Congress to make sure that SelectUSA continues to benefit communities across America for years to come, regardless of who lives in the White House.
By authorizing the program to operate on a stable, permanent basis, we not only ensure that foreign investment can continue generating high paying jobs for our workers and growing our economy, but also send a clear signal to the world that our country is serious about attracting their business and serious about improving our investment climate.
Earlier this summer, more than 2,400 participants from 70 foreign markets and across our country gathered in Washington for the third SelectUSA Investment Summit. The size of the crowd – and the thousands of match-making meetings that took place on site – made it clear that foreign firms want to invest in the United States. But these businesses need our help to navigate the system, understand the U.S. market, and make connections.
In today’s interconnected economy, companies can choose to invest anywhere around the globe. Our country has a lot in our favor: Investors choose the United States because of the talent, ingenuity, and productivity of our people. They are drawn to our strong rule of law and intellectual property protections, our world class universities, and our global leadership in R&D. Investors see opportunity in our stable financial markets, vibrant supply chains, and abundant and affordable energy supply.
In fact, A.T. Kearney recently named our country the best place in the world to invest for the 4th year in a row. But we cannot take our status as the best place in the world to do business for granted.
We must continue to work hard to improve the investment climate across our nation on an ongoing basis.
SelectUSA is a winning strategy for attracting foreign direct investment, and foreign direct investment is a winning strategy for our economy. Our proven efforts to capture more investment serve to strengthen economies, families, businesses, and communities across our nation, and authorizing SelectUSA will show the world that America is truly open for business.