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Opinion Editorial -- LinkedIn Influencer -- America Is First in the World for Investment — and Getting Stronger

Friday, June 6, 2014

Guest oped by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Jeff Zients, Director of the National Economic Council
Opinion Editorial, LinkedIn Influencer
America Is First in the World for Investment — and Getting Stronger

Right now, Hankook Tire, a company whose executives met with President Obama in Korea earlier this year, is investing in a new facility in Tennessee that will employ 1,800 Americans. And Novozymes, a bioinnovations company based in Denmark, is investing millions of dollars in a job-creating North Carolina research center. At the same time, American companies are bringing jobs back to the U.S.— like Ford which is committing to billions of dollars in new investment and more than 5,000 new U.S. jobs in 2014 alone.

In the last three years, SelectUSA has facilitated more than $18 billion in job-creating business investment in the United States and we are making investment attraction a core priority across federal agencies. This year alone, SelectUSA has assisted nearly 500 businesses and economic development organizations by serving as a single point of contact for investors; coordinating investment advocacy all the way up to the President; and providing services and support for U.S. communities to compete globally.

Last year, the President and the Commerce Department hosted the extraordinarily successful inaugural SelectUSA Summit, which brought together more than 1,300 people — business executives from more than 60 countries, governors, mayors, and economic development officials from 48 states — to see the benefits of doing business and creating jobs in the U.S. and establishing the connections to make that happen.

Two weeks ago, the President announced the second SelectUSA Summit will be held March 23-24, 2015 in Washington, D.C. With the success of the first summit, this event will be twice the size with more than 2,500 people from around the world planning to attend to discuss ways we can together bring more job-creating investments to the U.S. and share stories about what Made in America really means.

Why is this significant?

Because according to a survey released this week, America is leading the world in attracting investment. And we are keeping our foot on the accelerator.

A new AT Kearney survey of 300 global executives found that the United States is the top destination in the world for foreign direct investment. Last year, the U.S. surged past Brazil, China, and India to retake the top spot for the first time since 2001. And this year, the United States extended its lead with one of the highest confidence scores on record for any country and was ranked first by respondents from every geography and by every industry. It is clear that the improvements over the past two years have been profound and the U.S. continues to show greater positive momentum than any other country.

The AT Kearney findings reinforce trends we have seen in recent years. U.S. and foreign companies are investing billions of dollars that strengthen our economy, directly supporting thousands of high-quality jobs for millions of U.S. workers. These investments expand our exports and fund an outsized share of our nation’s spending on research and development.

And the Obama Administration is doubling down to make sure the world knows that we are open for business.

As part of the President’s trip to Europe this week, members of his team and SelectUSA will host a business roundtable with companies in Warsaw that have recently announced investments in the United States, or are gearing up for future business. The roundtable included Polish companies looking to invest in the United States across sectors including logistics, consumer goods, furniture, and automobiles. One company that joined the roundtable, Polish candle producer Korona S.A., recently announced plans to invest more than $18 million to locate its first U.S. production facility in Virginia, supporting 170 jobs.

It is this growing interest from companies around the world that is driving our efforts to expand the President’s SelectUSA initiative – a global team in embassies abroad and agencies at home focused on encouraging and supporting companies who want to bring job-creating investment to the United States. The Administration is working hard every day to attract more investment, create more jobs, and strengthen our economic foundation. That’s why, in 2011, the President launched SelectUSA — the first-ever, comprehensive federal effort to actively compete to bring manufacturing and service jobs to the United States. The fact is, we must be aggressive in pursuing investment, including FDI and helping domestic companies re-shore.

Why is the U.S. such a good place to do business? Our competitive advantages are clear. We have the most skilled and productive workforce in the world, we continue to be the leader in invention and innovation, and with the recent boom in domestic energy production, natural gas is cheaper here than in competing nations. The U.S. is also the global leader in patents, producing nearly 30 percent of all patents worldwide and we have 15 of the top 25 leading research universities.

With these advantages — it’s no surprise that company after company ranks the U.S. as the top place in the world to invest. And it is why we will use every tool in our toolbox to make sure Made in America is here to stay.