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Inaugural U.S. Commerce Department SelectUSA Investment Summit Concludes With A Focus On Forging Stronger Global Business Alliances

Friday, November 1, 2013

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker wrapped up the inaugural SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit this afternoon, following two high-impact days of meetings and discussions among senior government officials, major business executives, global economic experts and U.S. economic development officials about strategies to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States.

Secretary Pritzker also opened the final day of the Summit, where she announced changes to the eligibility requirements for the Manufacturing Council that will allow representatives from U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-owned or controlled firms to become members. The expanded eligibility rules will add new perspectives to the Council, which advises the Commerce Secretary on policies and initiatives to increase FDI in the U.S. manufacturing sector, including SelectUSA.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered remarks focused on deepening U.S. economic alliances around the world. Following his address, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman moderated a panel with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, BMW North America CEO Ludwig Willisch, and Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman on how global companies can use their U.S. operations as an export platform by taking advantage of free trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties. 

Throughout the day, speakers from businesses, professional services firms, academia, and trade associations helped to demystify aspects of the U.S. economic and regulatory system. The discussions covered the implications of U.S. leadership in the energy sector, advice on effective global talent development, understanding U.S. investment export controls and foreign investment security reviews, and accessing U.S.-based sources of investment and working capital. 

Secretary Pritzker, who hosted and presided over the first-ever federal government event focused on inbound U.S. investment, declared the Summit a success. “We predicted that there was a hunger for something like this,” she told Summit attendees. “But we were overwhelmed with the positive response from global business leaders and economic development organizations.”

Committed to maintaining the momentum from the SelectUSA Summit, Secretary Pritzker announced a series of future events in which Commerce Department and SelectUSA officials will participate, including the following:

  • SelectUSA and the American Chamber of Commerce in Spain will host an event in Barcelona and Madrid Nov. 19-21;
  • SelectUSA will be at next April’s Hannover Messe in Germany, the largest manufacturing show in the world;
  • SelectUSA will participate in the Offshore Technology conference in Houston, the world’s largest oil and gas conference, in May 2014;  
  • SelectUSA teams will travel to Frankfurt for AutoMechanika, a global auto industry event, in September 2014; and
  • SelectUSA will bring city and state economic development professionals face-to-face with investors in Mexico, Japan, and Europe early next year. 

The Summit is a key component of SelectUSA’s mission to promote FDI and to help achieve the Obama administration’s goals of creating jobs, spurring economic growth and promoting American business competitiveness. Approximately 1,200 business and government leaders from nearly 60 countries and economic development organizations from 47 states, the District of Columbia and three territories met at the SelectUSA Investment Summit to learn about the advantages of doing business in the U.S. and to explore investment opportunities.

President Obama delivered an address to attendees on the first day of the Summit, during which he announced four new steps that will expand and enhance SelectUSA through the creation of the first-ever, fully coordinated U.S. government effort to recruit businesses to invest and create new jobs in the U.S. The steps include a new focus at U.S. embassies on attracting investment; more outreach from senior government officials to businesses to make the case for investing in America; better coordinated advocacy at all levels of government to bring more jobs to U.S. shores, combined with new ways to cut through red tape; and new tools to help state and local leaders tout their benefits and attract business investment.

On Thursday, the Commerce Department and the President’s Council of Economic Advisors also released a report documenting that the United States has been the world’s largest recipient of FDI since 2006. Drawing on a wide array of statistical evidence and survey findings, the report concluded that “with the world’s largest consumer market, skilled and productive workers, a highly innovative environment, appropriate legal protections, a predictable regulatory environment, and a growing energy sector, the United States offers an attractive investment climate for firms across the globe.”

In addition to President Obama, Secretary Pritzker, Secretary Kerry, and USTR Froman, Summit speakers included U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling, White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Walmart U.S. President and CEO Bill Simon, Black Rock CEO Laurence Fink, and Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris.

President Obama launched SelectUSA in 2011, creating the first federal program to promote and facilitate U.S. investment in partnership with our states. The Obama administration is fully committed to coordinating resources at home and abroad to bring new investment and jobs to the United States, and the SelectUSA  Investment Summit was a critical part of those efforts.