Was this page helpful?

Welcome Remarks by Secretary Wilbur L. Ross at the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit


Thank you, Karen, for that kind introduction, and good morning everyone.

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit.

This is an exciting event for me, for the U.S. Department of Commerce, for the economic development officials here from 50 states and territories, and for our entire country.

This is the second SelectUSA Summit that I have hosted, and this year we will have more than 3,000 delegates from 66 countries, including delegates from 15 new countries.

On behalf of President Trump and all Americans, welcome, all of you.

This year, we have scheduled 2,200 one-on-one meetings between state economic development officials and representatives from foreign companies attending the Summit.

We have also helped the attending foreign delegations plan 21 trips visiting states and local communities as potential investment opportunities.

And thank you to our dedicated Foreign Commercial Service Officers who have been so instrumental in introducing foreign companies to the United States and all that America has to offer.

We also have a new record, 14 American ambassadors and 18 Chiefs of Mission who are here.

Thank you for traveling with your delegations of foreign business partners from your overseas posts.

To give you an indication of how important this event is to the U.S. government, there will be five Cabinet Secretaries in attendance over the next two days.

Moreover, 10 state Governors are with us, up from only two Governors attending last year’s Summit.

In alphabetical order, they are Governor Bevin of Kentucky, Bryant of Mississippi, Fallin of Oklahoma, Herbert of Utah, Hickenlooper of Colorado, Holcomb of Indiana, Otter of Idaho, Ricketts of Nebraska, Rosello of Puerto Rico, and Walker of Wisconsin.

A special welcome and thank you, Governors, for making this Summit a priority in your hectic schedules.

This is the premier global event for foreign direct investment.

We are here to help your companies grow and prosper in the most open and dynamic market in the world.

The path that you are starting at the Investment Summit is one that will lead to success not only in the United States, but the world over.

As the saying goes: If you can be successful in the United States, you can be successful anywhere.

This is the fifth SelectUSA Investment Summit.

Since its inaugural year in 2013, more than $93 billion of foreign direct investment has been announced by past participants in this event.

There are also some blockbuster investments from foreign companies that will soon be producing here, and selling their output directly to American customers and into foreign export markets.

Let me mention a few of them.

Formosa Plastics Group of Taiwan is investing $9.4 billion in a massive chemical complex in St. James Parish, Louisiana.

Over the next 10 years, building the new facility will generate 8,050 construction jobs, and 1,200 permanent jobs.

The average pay: $84,500, more than 60 percent higher than the median household income in St. James Parish.

Representatives from Volvo Cars have been working with SelectUSA staff since 2014.

They are now investing an additional $520-million in their production center in Berkley County, South Carolina, for the company’s new line of sedans and mid-sized crossovers.

Volvo will hire more than 1,900 workers, and its investment is expected to create an additional 2,000 indirect jobs.

Volvo’s investment in South Carolina totals more than $1 billion.

Fiat is planning a $1-billion investment to move production of heavy duty trucks from its plant in Mexico to a factory in Michigan.

The company says the move was possible due to the tax reform bill that was signed into law by President Trump last December.

Japan-based Teijin broke ground earlier this month on a $643-million, carbon-fiber production plant in Greenwood County, South Carolina.

The company will hire 291 American workers, and company executives said that the local and state economic development officials welcomed them like they were, quote, “family.”

Last year, Taki-gawa Corporation, a Japanese company, met with representatives from Kentucky’s economic development office attending the SelectUSA Summit.

Over the course of succeeding months, Taki-gawa executives met with state officials and, this past April, it broke ground in Bards-town, Kentucky, on a $46-million flexible packaging and high-performance films plant.

That plant is being built on an 18-acre greenfield site and will employ 180 new workers.

Swiss-based Lonza Biologics is expanding its operations in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, by one million square feet, and expects to create 1,000 new jobs.

Some investments are not as big financially, but are equally as important.

Last year at the SelectUSA Summit, I participated in a new business announcement with the French software and hardware company called Klaxoon.

At the time, the company announced a $5 million investment in the United States.

Just this month, Klaxoon secured $50 million in new venture capital.

Klaxoon is off to the races.

And the list goes on.

In fact, this Summit will have more new business investment announcements than any Summit we have hosted.

This afternoon, we will be announcing two new foreign investments in Ohio, plus new production projects in Idaho and Virginia.

Investments in the projects being announced during the Summit total more than $600 million, and it demonstrates why this conference exists: To boost the growth and prospects of all businesses that invest in the United States.

There really is no better place in the world to invest.

AT Kearney ranked the United States as the best destination country for foreign investment for the sixth year running.  There are good reasons why: 

  • The United States has the world’s third largest population with 325 million savvy consumers;
  • We maintain a strong adherence to the rule of law and the protection of your intellectual property, your most valuable asset;
  • We provide unique opportunities to tap into advanced research and the innovation and engineering capabilities that are plentiful throughout the country;
  • We have adopted strong economic growth policies, including a new, low corporate tax rate, and drastic reductions in regulations.
  • There is ready access to capital, inexpensive and plentiful energy, natural resources, and a skilled, energized, and optimistic workforce;
  • And our states will work individually with you to make it easy to invest.

Having the world’s most innovative, open system of capitalism is the reason why the United States continues to create entirely new industries that generate strong economic growth, with close to record levels of employment.

Please use every networking opportunity throughout the Summit — from coffee breaks to the time spent on the Exhibition Hall — to make as many connections as possible.

You can also use our SelectUSA Summit App to choose meetings to attend and search for partners.

We are doing everything in our power as a government to assure that your investment pays dividends long into the future.

Thank you, again, for being here and, please, enjoy the time you are able to spend in the United States.