With more than 2,600 people from more than 70 markets, and economic development organizations from all corners of the United States, the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit has record attendance. In fact, it is more than twice as large as the inaugural 2013 event and reflects growing global interest in the United States as a place to launch and expand operations, invest in research and development, and create jobs.
Day One of the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit just concluded and what an exciting day it was. We were honored to have President Obama speak and announce some new initiatives to make investing and expanding within the United States even easier.
He announced that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will increase clarity around the adjudication of the L-1B non-immigrant visa that allows international companies to temporarily deploy workers with specialized knowledge to the United States when launching or conducting operations here. This long-anticipated policy guidance is of particular interest to global companies participating in today's SelectUSA Investment Summit.
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will establish the first-ever federal advisory committee to solicit formal input on the development and implementation of strategies and programs to attract and retain foreign direct investment in the United States.
Finally, SelectUSA will continue to improve investment tools, enhance trainings for investors, and expand partnerships with state economic development organizations. A new partnership platform will improve state-federal coordination, inform SelectUSA services and programs, and promote high standards in investment-promotion activities across the country.
Secretary Pritzker opened the conference laying out all the reasons why the United States is the number one place to invest. She highlighted that companies choose to invest here because of our rising job market; the strong rule of law and intellectual property protections; our world-class universities and our global leadership in R&D; our stable financial markets and our vibrant supply chains; and our abundant and affordable energy supply. I heard businesses today share that they invested in the United States because of our low tariff rates and the low barriers to entry to our communities. Investors also choose the United States because of the talent and ingenuity of our people.
We also heard from Jeff Zients, Director of the National Economic Council, and a phenomenal panel of executives, discussing the resurging U.S. economy. It is clear that this is the right time to invest in the United States.
We also heard about the world-leading opportunities for innovation. We learned more about why international companies spend 48 billion dollars a year on U.S. research and development.
Breakout sessions featured impressive speakers like Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, Mike McNamara of Flextronics, and many others, discussed supply chains and advanced manufacturing; tax policy; success for small businesses; resources for start-ups; opportunities to innovate together with American universities; and the new energy economy. Secretary Tom Vilsack and Governor Susana Martinez spoke about the incredible opportunity in investing in rural America.
The topics we covered today are exceptionally diverse, and there’s a reason for that. The United States, with its 50 states and territories, is full of diversity. It’s one of our greatest strengths.
Regardless of your size or home country, you can find the market, the people, and the place that you need to be successful here in the United States. SelectUSA is ready to be your partner as you search.