5 Signs That America Is Open for (Foreign) Business

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It might seem like all talk of labor and the foreign market relates to outsourcing; to American jobs disappearing as they are moved offshore to be performed by workers in markets where wages (and standards) are lower. In some sectors of the economy, such as call centers and simple manufacturing, this perception is valid. However, foreign firms also pour huge amounts of money into the United States. Foreign Direct Investment (or FDI) actually makes up a large percent of the annual American Gross National Product. Even as U.S. companies find ways to cut costs by sending labor elsewhere, many foreigners find ways to ensure quality and stability by sending it here.

5 Manufacturing and Financial Industries Attract the Bulk of FDI

According to a report just released by the Department of Commerce and the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, foreign firms are most apt to invest in the American manufacturing and finance sectors. Pharmaceuticals, coal and petroleum lead the way, thanks to our advanced research and development in the case of the former, due to a natural abundance of coal, and largely due to new hydraulic fracturing techniques (AKA fracking) in the case of the latter. In finance, foreigners eagerly invest in everything from banks to insurance companies to investment firms, confident in the long-term outlook for the U.S. economy and dollar.

4 FDI Pumps Billions Into U.S. Economy Each Year

In 2012 alone, Foreign Direct Investment, meaning everything from factories constructed to mortgage-backed securities purchased, added up to around $166 billion. The Department of Commerce estimates that more than $1.5 trillion of FDI has flowed into the United States since 2006, and further calculates that the total net U.S. assets held by foreign companies totals nearly $4 trillion in value.

3 China Is America’s Leading Investor, But Barely

Despite common conceptions of China holding the bulk of the United States’ “debt” thanks to immense investment, China is merely the largest single investor. And they only hold that title by about $140 billion. China holds approximately $1.28 trillion worth of U.S. securities, but Japan is right behind them with $1.14 trillion invested. After these Asia superpowers, an amalgam of European nations are the next largest investor, followed by our neighbors to the north.

2 U.S. Is the Second Largest Market for FDI

Even as the economies of emerging powers such as Russia, Brazil and India develop, America remains one of the largest recipients of Foreign Direct Investment. The stability and prosperity of the American marketplace is evidently more attractive than the potential yet still unproven economies of such other nations. Only China outpaces the U.S. for FDI, as the Chinese marketplace is seen as booming and with plenty of room to grow, while America is seen as more slow and steady.

1 We Are Aggressively Seeking More FDI

At the first potentially annual Select USA Summit held yesterday, myriad high profile Americans directly solicited more Foreign Direct Aid. In attendance was none other than President Obama himself, along with Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, Secretary of State John Kerry and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. Also included were CEOs from such companies as Wal-Mart, Dow Chemical and more. And of course multiple foreign businesspeople were invited to the summit. They came from Brazil, from India, from Europe and beyond—all to hear the same message from President Obama: “When you bet on America, that bet pays off,” the president said. “There are a whole lot of reasons you ought to come here. We are the land of opportunity. That is not a myth; it’s a proven fact.”

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