The 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit was held on March 23rd and 24th at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor, Maryland – just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.
Investors and high-level CEOs who have all successfully invested in the United States participated in the summit along with representatives of U.S. economic development organizations and representatives from U.S. state and local governments. The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and other senior officials hosted the proceedings. President Barack Obama also visited the summit and gave remarks on how to further attract foreign investors and expand the SelectUSA initiative. Around 2,600 people from nearly 80 countries attended the two-day summit. The summit included speeches, panels and discussions on some of the themes that President Obama has highlighted: among these themes were cybersecurity, trade, immigration, tax policy and infrastructure.
President Obama began his speech by emphasizing that, after the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, America is once again in a state of extensive economic growth. He explained that over the last 60 months more that 12 million jobs have been created. Actually, U.S. businesses have added more than 200,000 jobs each month for the last 12 months – this is the first time that has happened in 37 years. Furthermore, the employment rate has dropped by nearly 50% since 2009 and after a decade of outsourcing, jobs are now starting to come back to America.
The president continued his speech by addressing the importance of attracting more foreign investment to the U.S. as a way of creating more jobs. He referred to the SelectUSA initiative as a story of success and explained how SelectUSA, by the beginning of this year, had assisted more than 1,000 clients, helping to generate more than $20 billion of investment in the U.S.
Mr. Obama noted: “I created SelectUSA, the first-ever government-wide initiative to encourage more companies from around the world to invest and create jobs right here in the United States. We’ve got a good story to tell, but we want to make sure all of you had a chance to hear it.”
And he continued: “So what’s great about SelectUSA is that everybody wins. Communities that welcome foreign investors see more jobs and economic activity and they can reach more potential investors. The companies that invest in America have access to the largest market in the world – and it’s a market that is strong and stable, and growing.”
Lars Rebien Sørensen, the CEO at Novo Nordisk,
participated in a panel discussion about “The Innovation Advantage”
The President also introduced some future actions that the Administration will take on in order to enhance SelectUSA and increase U.S. attractiveness to investors. He spoke of launching a new partnership between state and federal economic development officials, as well as launching the SelectUSA Academy, which focuses on training programs for investors: “We’re improving our online investment tools, helping companies identify state-based incentives so that they can decide where to invest.” As an example, a database of state-level incentives is now available on the SelectUSA website. Moreover, as a joint project of the Harvard Business School and the Economic Development Administration, The Department of Commerce has created a website called: clustermapping.us. The Cluster Mapping website provides investors with data and tools that will make it easier for them to identify regional concentrations of specific industries and thereby locate potential economic partners in the United States.
Secretary of State John Kerry also spoke at the summit. One thing that both Secretary Kerry and President Obama specifically made clear was that the U.S. is a great (if not the greatest) investment opportunity for foreign companies. Mr. Kerry said: “Now, some might debate it – I don’t – I think the United States of America, particularly at this moment of time is without doubt one of the best places in the world to invest, if not the best place.”. He followed by acknowledging the significant spill overs that can come of cross-country investments: “We know that two businesses in two different countries on two different continents have the ability to be able to forge strong bonds – bonds that ultimately serve to enhance the relationship between both businesses’ home countries, and bonds that actually no two governments could quite create in the same way.”
Mr. Kerry used the last part of his speech to state the importance of the free trade agreements and the bilateral investment treaties that are currently being negotiated in The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). He described them as important steps towards a more integrated investment regime that would help drive global growth and prosperity.
As the final pitch to why foreign companies should choose to invest in the U.S., Secretary Kerry noted: “Whatever the reason, whatever makes the most business sense to you, you can be confident in the fact that when you select the USA, you are choosing a workforce with some of the world’s most reliable and most productive workers. You are embracing an investment climate that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship. Most importantly, you are selecting a partner that is committed to helping you to succeed and knows that we all do better when everyone grows together.”
Read the whole speech by President Barack Obama here.
Read the whole speech by Secretary of State John Kerry here.
SelectUSA was established by President Barack Obama in 2011 as a way of showcasing the United States as the world’s premier business location, create jobs, spur economic growth, and advance U.S. competitiveness.
SelectUSA is housed within the International Trade Administration (ITA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC).
To learn more about SelectUSA, visit: www.SelectUSA.gov