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Looking to the Future: FDI Growth Trends Signal Confidence in U.S. Market Prospects

Companies worldwide have recognized that the United States represents a strong platform for global growth, as well as one of the world’s most attractive consumer markets.

Location USA 2017
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States is a compelling win-win proposition. Every day, communities across the nation benefit from highly compensated jobs, tax revenue, research and development spending, and other capital expenditures by foreign-invested enterprises. Meanwhile, companies of all sizes are demonstrating how establishing, reshoring, or expanding operations in the United States has become a business imperative in the age of the knowledge economy.

The fundamentals that make the United States a great place to invest — markets, business climate, and human and natural resources — are stronger than ever. In 2017, for the fifth year in a row, the United States topped the A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index, an annual survey of global business executives that ranks which markets are likely to attract the most investment in the next three years. And the opportunities keep growing. Much of the proof is in the numbers, measured by the U.S. government and multilateral organizations such as the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). SelectUSA Stats, a data visualization tool, offers new ways to analyze a wide range of FDI data from a variety of sources. Here are some examples:

The United States Continues to Hold the Largest Total FDI Stock in the World
At more than $3.1 trillion, the total stock of foreign direct investment in the United States equals 17 percent of GDP — larger by far than that of any other country. In 2015 alone, new FDI expenditures to acquire, establish, or expand U.S. businesses totaled $420.7 billion, an increase of 68 percent from 2014 expenditures of $250.6 billion, according to the latest statistics from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Fastest-growing sources of FDI ranks markets with 2015 FDI stock in the United States greater than $1 billion.
Fastest-growing sources of FDI ranks markets with 2015 FDI stock in the United States greater than $1 billion.
FDI Sources Are Growing and Diversifying
The composition of this investment also paints an interesting picture. Representing 18.2 percent of all FDI in the United States, the United Kingdom again ranked as the single largest source of foreign investment in 2015. Next on the list were Japan (13.2 percent), Canada (10.9 percent), Germany (10.2 percent), and France (8.0 percent).

Welcome to a new period of economic revival in the United States. Whether you are touring our nation virtually through this website or exploring the market at events such as the SelectUSA Investment Summit — know that there are bountiful and exciting opportunities ahead. Don’t just take my word for it — listen to the global business leaders who ranked the United States as the top business investment destination for the fifth year in a row in the 2017 A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index. Check out the latest data in the related articles to see why.

The United States is becoming an even stronger investment destination, and I encourage international companies to become part of the American spirit of ingenuity and innovation. We are working hard to create an environment in which companies operating in the United States can flourish. Fewer regulations, a simplified tax structure, and new infrastructure improvement initiatives will make it easier and less expensive for companies to achieve their goals.

In a highly competitive global economy, SelectUSA makes it easier for companies to choose the United States as the location to grow their business by serving as a single point of contact for navigating the federal system. We also partner with state, local, and regional economic development organizations (EDOs) to attract and win investment. To learn how we can help you, please visit

My thanks to Area Development and LocationUSA for posting this guide for international business investors and U.S. economic development organizations. I welcome all readers to peruse this helpful information and to take advantage of the services of our SelectUSA team. Please know that the capabilities of the U.S. government are here to support you.

I warmly wish you every success.

With regards,

Fred W. Volcansek, Sr.
Executive Director,
U.S. Department of Commerce

FDI from three countries notably grew at compound annual growth rates (CAGR) above 30 percent from 2010 to 2015 — Argentina (38.9 percent), Chile (36.9 percent), and China (30.8 percent).

FDI Means Good Jobs
FDI has a measurable impact on communities across the nation. Some 6.4 million U.S. workers are employed by U.S. affiliates of foreign-owned firms, approximately one third of which are in the manufacturing sector. Not only do these high-skilled jobs pay 30 percent higher than the economy-wide average, but also for each job directly supported by FDI, there is at least one job indirectly supported by FDI.

Convinced that it’s time to take the next step — either to invest or to attract investment? There are a number of resources that can help.

Federal and Other Levels of Support
SelectUSA, the U.S. national investment promotion program, works to facilitate job-creating business investment and raise awareness of the important role that FDI plays in the U.S. economy. As chair of the Federal Interagency Investment Working Group (IIWG), SelectUSA works with more than 20 federal agencies and bureaus, serving as a single point of contact to help business investors and U.S. economic development organizations (EDOs) to navigate the federal regulatory system. Serving both companies and U.S. EDOs, the program is frequently the first stop for business investors seeking information and guidance about entering or expanding their operations in the United States.

State, territorial, regional, and local economic development organizations across the country also offer a wealth of information and a wide range of resources to guide investors through the process of establishing or expanding their operations in a specific location.

Making Vital Connections: The SelectUSA Investment Summit
High-profile events like the annual SelectUSA Investment Summit connect investors with the diversity of opportunity across the United States, enabling business to explore locations across the nation in a matter of hours. Summit participants also hear about the U.S. business and investment climate directly from senior government officials and industry leaders, and learn about specific resources and tools to invest in the United States.

For more information, please visit and join the conversation on Twitter with #SelectUSASummit and #GrowWithUS17.

Pathhway To Success

SECURE LAUNCH PAD — Noting a particularly fertile environment for building ideas into profitable businesses, the Global Entrepreneurship Index ranked the United States first out of 137 countries for entrepreneurship in 2017.
With a deeply-rooted business culture of experimentation and evolution, wide access to capital, and other resources designed to help new ideas take flight, there is arguably no better market than the United States for entrepreneurs and startups to experiment, take calculated risks, and even “constructively fail.”

STRONG PLATFORM FOR GLOBAL GROWTH — Recognizing the United States as a strong platform for global growth, U.S. affiliates of foreign companies exported U.S.$425 billion worth of goods in 2014 — more than onequarter of all U.S. goods exports.
Companies exporting from the United States reap benefits not only from the “Made in the U.S.A.” brand premium (innovation, quality, and reliability) but also from U.S. government export assistance programs, giving U.S.-made goods a competitive edge in global markets.

Business-Friendly Environment

TRANSPARENT AND LEVEL PLAYING FIELD — The United States is the easiest place to do business among countries with populations over 100 million, according to the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2017” report.
Backed by a regulatory environment and business culture that encourages free enterprise, foreign-invested organizations compete on an even playing field due to “national treatment” as legal U.S. entities.

VIBRANT INNOVATION ENVIRONMENT — The United States is a leading destination for innovators, offering seven of the top 10 universities, 27 percent of global research and development (R&D) spending, and the most robust intellectual property protections in the world.
Majority foreign-owned companies spent $57 million on R&D — more than 16 percent of total U.S. private-sector R&D — in 2014, becoming vital members of a flourishing innovation ecosystem.

Wealth Of Resources

LARGE CUSTOMER BASE —The United States is home to the world’s most attractive consumer market with an annual GDP of more than $18 trillion, population of 325 million, and the highest household spending on the planet.
Companies tapping into this substantial market find that locating manufacturing and distribution facilities closer to their customers enables greater quality control, improved responsiveness to customer demands, and reduced lead times.

ABUNDANT RESOURCES — Home to abundant natural resources and diverse human talent, the United States offers unrivalled access to raw material and energy sources and a workforce whose output per hour is 36 percent above the OECD member country average.
Businesses operating in the United States are powered by independent, stable, and low-cost energy sources, a motivated and skilled workforce, and access to an expansive infrastructure network.

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