Obama Seeks to Attract More Foreign Investors to United States

By Jane Morse
31 October 2013

The U.S. manufacturing sector is on the upswing and some 33 percent of it is supported by foreign direct investment, according to the White House. Here Obama speaks to employees at a Boeing 787 factory in 2012.
The U.S. manufacturing sector is on the upswing and some 33 percent of it is supported by foreign direct investment, according to the White House. Here Obama speaks to employees at a Boeing 787 factory in 2012.

Washington — The United States has the most appealing investment environment in the world, and it’s going to get even better, says President Obama.

Addressing some 1,200 business people from nearly 60 countries and 47 U.S. states who attended the SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit, Obama said: “When we do business together, and when we trade and forge new partnerships, it’s good for all of us.”

“America is open for business,” Obama said October 31 at the event, held in Washington. “After a decade in which many jobs left the United States to go overseas, now we’re seeing companies starting to bring jobs back because they’re seeing the advantages of being located here,” he said.

Obama launched SelectUSA in 2011 as the first U.S. governmentwide initiative to promote investment in the United States. But the 2013 event is the first to vigorously pursue foreign companies and investors and make it easy for them to connect with local, state and regional economic development organizations.

The SelectUSA 2013 initiative launches a number of “firsts,” according to the White House. Specifically, the Obama administration is creating the first coordinated advocacy process to link international teams with senior government officials all the way up to the president to recruit businesses that bring jobs to the United States.

For example, SelectUSA will create single points of contact for businesses looking to bring jobs and production to the United States. This will include greater coordination between SelectUSA headquarters in Washington, in-country resources at U.S. embassies and state-based economic development organizations.

At the 2013 event, a new report was released from the U.S. Commerce Department and the White House Council of Economic Advisers that spotlights the factors that have made the United States the destination of choice for foreign direct investment. These, according to the report, include a skilled workforce, world-class research universities, adequate infrastructure, new energy sources, a stable market, the world’s largest economy, an open investment environment and a long-standing commitment to rule of law.

“You can depend on our rules of the road to stay constant and transparent — including our gold standard in intellectual property protection, as supported by the Commerce Department,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, who spoke at the event. In addition to Pritzker, Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman were scheduled to deliver remarks during the October 31–November 1 event.

The United States is the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in the world, with stock of more than $2.6 trillion dollars — including $166 billion that flowed into the country in 2012 — according to data provided by the White House. Obama said the goal of his administration is to build on that success.

The United States, Obama said, has “a tradition here of tackling new challenges, adapting to new circumstances, seizing new opportunities.”

“And that’s one of the reasons,” the president said, “that history shows over the last two centuries that when you bet on America, that bet pays off.”