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  June 19th, 2017 | Written by

Foreign Direct Investment: Driving Global Competitiveness and Innovation

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  • FDI is an investment priority at the Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration.
  • 61 EDA projects totaling $98 million create and/or retain 30,073 jobs.
  • 30 EDA projects totaling close to $12 million support FDI-related planning, research, and access to capital.

Foreign Direct Investment‭ (‬FDI‭) ‬plays an important role in the US economy.‭ ‬It leads to the creation of jobs,‭ ‬an increase in wealth and living standards,‭ ‬and overall growth and innovation that drive the US economic competitiveness.‭ ‬The Commerce Department is now hosting the‭ ‬2017‭ ‬SelectUSA Investment Summit providing a platform to communicate economic priorities and affirm the United States as the number one destination in the world for foreign direct investment.

The United States remains an attractive destination for FDI for a variety of reasons,‭ ‬including a large consumer base,‭ ‬a productive workforce,‭ ‬a highly innovative environment,‭ ‬and legal protections.‭ ‬As a result,‭ ‬foreign firms make investments in the United States on a regular basis by establishing new operations,‭ ‬purchasing existing operations of another company,‭ ‬or providing additional capital to their existing US operations.

The US welcomes foreign investment,‭ ‬and the numbers show that investors have confidence in the opportunities here.‭ ‬With a population of‭ ‬320‭ ‬million and a Gross Domestic Product‭ (‬GDP‭) ‬that’s over‭ ‬$18‭ ‬trillion,‭ ‬our nation is home to more FDI stock than any other country.

The numbers paint the big picture:

12.1‭ ‬million jobs are attributable to FDI;
6.4‭ ‬million–the number of US workers directly employed by majority foreign-owned firms;
2.4‭ ‬million includes jobs attributable to the economic activity of majority foreign-owned firms,‭ ‬including jobs in those firms‭’ ‬supply chains,‭ ‬jobs attributable to higher incomes,‭ ‬and other economic effects;
In the manufacturing sector alone,‭ ‬productivity growth from technology spillovers associated with FDI contributed‭ ‬3.5‭ ‬million jobs.

At the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration‭ (‬EDA‭)‬,‭ ‬FDI is one of our investment priorities.‭ ‬These priorities are designed to provide an overarching framework to guide the agency’s investment portfolio and ensure its investments contribute the strongest positive impact on sustainable regional economic growth and diversification.

Since FY2011,‭ ‬EDA invested more than‭ ‬$109‭ ‬million in‭ ‬91‭ ‬projects to help advance local strategies to attract FDI.‭ ‬Of the total,‭ ‬61‭ ‬projects totaling close to‭ ‬$98‭ ‬million are expected to create and/or retain‭ ‬30,073‭ ‬jobs and attract over‭ ‬$8‭ ‬billion in private investment.‭ ‬The other‭ ‬30‭ ‬projects totaling close to‭ ‬$12‭ ‬million support FDI-related planning,‭ ‬research,‭ ‬technical assistance,‭ ‬access to capital,‭ ‬and/or other activities that are essential for successful economic development and job creation in the future.

Examples that show how EDA is investing to support FDI include:

Mississippi:‭Mississippi State University‘s Canton-based office received the Mississippi Economic Development Council’s Community Economic Development Award for its work to bring advanced manufacturing jobs back to America.‭ ‬The program acquired its initial funding through EDA.‭ ‬According to the university,‭ ‬the initiative resulted in a nearly‭ ‬$11‭ ‬million economic impact,‭ ‬with more than‭ ‬33‭ ‬direct investment opportunities identified and‭ ‬333‭ ‬jobs created or saved.‭ ‬Additionally,‭ ‬the program saw‭ ‬262‭ ‬industry certifications and‭ ‬221‭ ‬paid internships in high-demand advanced manufacturing skills.

Georgia:‭ ‬Over the last three decades,‭ ‬the global automotive sector has established a noticeable presence in the Southeast United States.‭ ‬From Mercedes in Alabama to BMW in South Carolina,‭ ‬many automotive manufacturers are seeking to take advantage of the Southeast’s comparatively inexpensive cost of doing business,‭ ‬warm climate,‭ ‬and excellent transportation networks.‭ ‬In‭ ‬2015,‭ ‬EDA invested‭ ‬$700,000‭ ‬in Public Works Program funds in the city of Lavonia,‭ ‬Georgia,‭ ‬to make sewer systems improvements that helped bring a foreign-based automotive parts manufacturer to the region.‭ ‬As a result,‭ ‬it is estimated that the region will gain‭ ‬400‭ ‬new manufacturing jobs and attract‭ ‬$54‭ ‬million in foreign direct investment.