Two-Way Investment: A Path to Shared Prosperity for America and the World

March 27, 2015
Assistant Secretary Charles H. Rivkin Speaks With Participants At The SelectUSA Summit

As Assistant Secretary, everywhere I travel, from Mumbai to Mexico City, from Bangkok to Beijing, I meet with investors and other business people who tell me just how much they love investing in the United States -- and how they plan to invest even more.  

They recognize -- as we do -- that the U.S. is the world’s most attractive and stable market for high-quality goods and services, with a consumer market, workforce, advanced technology and resources that are second to none. The sheer diversity of the U.S. economy means that there are opportunities for nearly every company -- from start-ups to medium-sized enterprises to multinationals.

My bureau works closely with our embassies, not only to support the business interests of our firms abroad, but to facilitate and increase the flow of foreign investment into the United States. One of our closest partners in these efforts is the Department of Commerce.

That’s why I was delighted to attend and participate in the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit, which just concluded in Washington. Housed in the Department of Commerce, SelectUSA serves as a single point of contact to ensure investors get the answers and assistance they need across the federal government. It reaffirms the United States’ ongoing and unwavering commitment to an open, welcoming investment climate.

This year’s event, hosted by the White House, brought together more than 2,600 people who came, not only to support this goal, but to benefit, including  investors from all around the world, economic development organizations representing almost every state in our nation, high-level government officials, and others who facilitate investment into the United States.  An online matchmaking program and an exhibition floor gave participants access to unique networking opportunities, insight from global CEOs and senior U.S. leaders, as well as discussions on the latest issues affecting investment in the United States.

As President Obama, Secretary Kerry, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and other officials attending the event highlighted in various ways, our reasons for supporting inward investment are clear cut. We know that the economic future of the United States and the world depends on the continued development of vibrant economic partnerships, built on a foundation of two-way investment and trade. 

As I underscored before a group of investors from the ASEAN countries, we welcome foreign direct investment, not only for the jobs and other economic benefits it brings – for both the source and recipient countries -- but also for the political ties such partnership can help to build. 

When foreign companies invest in the U.S., they create jobs and innovation here, and they generate profits and exports for their home countries. Not only that, they bring back technology, management expertise, cultural understanding, innovative products, and access to new markets. They can also increase prosperity, as well as economic and political stability for nations and workers alike.

SelectUSA is just one of the many ways the State Department can help achieve those outcomes -- and more. Foreign investors will also learn firsthand, that our economic success stems as directly from our values as our productivity. They are mutually reinforcing. A strong and vibrant business climate can only remain sustainable through innovation, strong intellectual property rights protections, a transparent legal system and a stable regulatory environment.  By supporting what we do best and what we believe in most, we can continue to create jobs and economic opportunity, reap prosperity for Americans and underwrite our national security.  But we can also build win-win propositions for all participants, whether they are buying our products or we are buying theirs. That’s the underlying wisdom of global prosperity: It’s not a zero sum game, but one of mutual gain. 

About the author: Charles H. Rivkin, serves as Assistant Secretary Of State for the Bureau of Economic And Business Affairs. Follow the Assistant Secretary on Twitter @AmbRivkin.

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Amy C.
United States
March 28, 2015
The US would be more attractive to foreign investors if we had decent infrastructure, decent public education, a properly regulated banking system, and a healthcare system that was not controlled by corrupt private insurers.


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