SelectUSA: The U.S. Innovation Advantage

If you’re a foreign investor or company trying to decide where in the world to expand your business, we want to welcome you and make sure you decide to invest in the United States. 

Bringing new businesses to American shores and into the U.S. heartland is a top priority of the entire U.S. government, and it’s the reason why so many of our leaders will take part in the third annual SelectUSA Investment Summit.

President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Commerce Secretary Pritzker as well as governors, mayors and businesses leaders from around the country will all attend. At the State Department, where we firmly believe that foreign policy is economic policy and vice versa, our Ambassadors around the world have been urging international businesses to come. 

The theme of this year’s SelectUSA Summit is the “Innovation Advantage.” That’s fitting, because while the United States is a leader in many fields, we clearly excel at innovation and technology. 

Seven of the world’s ten largest technology firms call the United States home. More than one out of every four dollars the world spends on research and development is spent in the United States, across multiple industries. We lead the world in clean energy technologies and by 2030 nearly one-third of all of our energy could come from renewable sources. 

President Obama launched SelectUSA so that any company, from the smallest start-up to the world’s largest multi-national company, could find the perfect American community where it can set up shop, hire workers and build a thriving enterprise. 

SelectUSA is the first coordinated, government-wide initiative whose mission is to help make the world more aware of how great the United States is as a place to do business. 

What’s so wonderful is that this is an easy case to make. 

Because when you invest in the United States, you’re gaining unparalleled access to:

  • The world’s largest economy by far -- with GDP of $18 trillion -- which is filled with the most productive and innovative workers;
  • An unparalleled business climate, a transparent and predictable legal system, and the world’s top universities; and
  • A country that in 2013 saw $53 billion spent on R&D by U.S. affiliates of majority foreign-owned firms.

Additionally, we’ve signed free trade agreements with 20 different countries. This means that on top of more than 320 million Americans, your U.S.-based business has access to markets made up of another 440 million consumers. 

So if you’re a company looking for a place to do business, the United States is where you want to be. 

Moreover, foreign direct investment (FDI) has always been a crucial part of the American success story. Total FDI in the United States stands at $2.9 trillion, equivalent to around 16 percent of U.S. GDP. U.S. affiliates of majority foreign-owned firms employ over six million workers. 

Attending the SelectUSA Investment Summit means you’ll also be making a wise investment of your time. More than 2,000 participants from more than 70 international markets met with representative from all 50 states at last year’s investment summit. And following that summit, participants announced over $3.5 billion in new investments.

I hope you will be a part of this year’s SelectUSA Investment Summit and I urge you to make the United States your future home for doing business!

About the Author: Catherine Novelli serves as Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment.

Editor's Note: This entry also appears on Medium.com.  

President Barack Obama speaks at the SelectUSA Investment Summit, March 23, 2015, in National Harbor, MD.
June 15, 2016

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