Last week, a bipartisan group in the House of Representatives highlighted the value of foreign direct investment to the United States. In a letter led by Reps. Pete Gallego (D-TX) and Alan Nunnelee (R-MS), 79 Members of Congress recognized that global companies bring innovate products and cutting-edge manufacturing processes to the United States and help diversify the American economy. Their letter noted in particular that Japanese automakers and dealerships have invested more than $47 billion in 29 plants around the country and created nearly 420,000 jobs.
The example that these Congressmen cite is one that is being repeated throughout the United States through investments in a wide range of manufacturing activity across the United States from countries from Japan and the United Kingdom to Germany, the Netherlands and Canada. Manufacturers in the United States have long understood the value of foreign direct investment. In fact, the NAM’s Growth Agenda calls for policies that would make the United States will be the best place in the world to manufacture and attract foreign direct investment.
Earlier in the year, NAM Vice President for International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey testified in support of legislation that would enhance the ability of the United States to attract foreign investment at a House Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee hearing. Manufacturers that are subsidiaries of foreign-headquartered companies create jobs, invest in R&D and make substantial capital expenditures in the United States. Data from 2012 show that FDI in manufacturing accounts for nearly 50 percent of total FDI last year, and FDI in manufacturing is showing a rebound from the weakness in 2008 and 2009. The longstanding “open investment policy” that successive administrations, both Republican and Democratic, have reaffirmed is supported through various aspects of U.S. law, regulation and policy – including the bilateral investment treaty (BIT) program. An interagency review of investment policies, as called for in the bill, would help foster a greater understanding of the U.S. investment environment and how it can be improved.