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Spotlight Story: FDI: Abetting Global Competitiveness and Business Investment

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) plays an important role in the U.S. economy by supporting the creation of jobs, increasing wealth and living standards, and by helping stimulate the overall growth and innovation that drives U.S. economic competitiveness. That is why EDA works regularly with SelectUSA, the Department of Commerce program to stimulate foreign investment in the U.S.

This year, SelectUSA’s annual Investment Summit took place June 10-12. At the Summit, Assistant Secretary Fleming spoke at an Opportunity Zone-focused roundtable event, headlined by Deputy Assistant Secretary Karen Dunn Kelley, and attended by other U.S. officials and U.S. and foreign businessmen and women. The 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit was one of SelectUSA's largest, drawing more than 3,100 attendees to Washington, D.C. Several new announcements were made, including nearly $100 million in new investment projects and the release of SelectUSA's case-study report on reshoring in the U.S. In total, 1,200 business investors from a record 79 international markets joined economic developers from 49 U.S. states and territories.

It is due, in part, to efforts like this, that the U.S. remains a leading country for attracting FDI. Additionally, market size, innovation, ease of doing business, an extremely productive workforce, and legal protections all make the U.S. a premier location for foreign investment.

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FDI in the U.S.

FDI plays an integral role in the U.S. economy, and investments have been made by a tremendous number of countries. Switzerland, for example, is one of the biggest investors in the U.S., with a cumulative direct investment of $310 billion. Swiss affiliates directly support half a million jobs within the U.S., and the Swiss are the leading investor in research and development within the U.S., investing upwards of $10 billion1.

Since the beginning of the Trump Administration, EDA has invested over $124 million in 86 FDI projects to help communities and regions build capacity for economic development. These projects include over $107 million in 47 projects that are, according to recipient estimates, expected to create and/or retain more than 380,000 jobs and attract nearly $3.8 billion in private investment. EDA has also invested more than $16.7 million in 39 projects to support planning, research, technical assistance, access to capital, and other activities essential for successful economic growth and future job creation.

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SelectUSA and EDA Partnership

As the global economy continues to grow and develop, the U.S. must stay competitive in attracting and retaining FDI. EDA will continue to work closely with its grantees and state and regional partners to support their FDI strategies. In addition to Opportunity Zones among others, FDI attraction is also included in EDA’s investment priorities.


1 From selectusa.gov

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