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Obama: U.S. Committed to Remain Top Choice for Foreign Investors

By MacKenzie C. Babb | Staff Writer | 20 June 2011
Close-up of Austan Goolsbee (AP Images)

Austan Goolsbee says the United States remains "the Number 1 destination" for foreign direct investment.

Washington — President Obama says the United States is committed to remaining “the most attractive place for businesses to locate, invest, grow and create jobs” as a new study finds that foreign direct investment in the United States jumped 49 percent from 2009 to 2010.

“In a global economy, the United States faces increasing competition for the jobs and industries of the future. Taking steps to ensure that we remain the destination of choice for investors around the world will help us win that competition and bring prosperity to our people,” President Obama said June 20 in a statement on the U.S. commitment to its open investment policy.

He said the United States consistently receives more foreign direct investment than any other country, investments that “create well-paid jobs, contribute to economic growth, boost productivity and support American communities.”

Obama’s message came as his Council of Economic Advisers released its study on the role of foreign direct investment in the U.S. economy. Council chairman Austan Goolsbee said at a briefing on the report June 20 that the impact of foreign direct investment “has been one of substantial job creation, substantial pay at those jobs and enhanced U.S. competitiveness.”

He said foreign firms employ about 5.7 million American workers, or roughly 5 percent of the private workforce. Average pay for these jobs is more than $70,000, or at least 30 percent more than the U.S. average. Goolsbee said these investments create goods and services that account for 18 percent of U.S. exports, contributing to the Obama administration’s goal of doubling exports by the end of 2014.

Obama said foreign firms invest heavily in innovation, spending more than $40 billion on research and development in the United States each year.

“By voting with their balance sheets, businesses from abroad have clearly stated that the United States is one of the best places in the world to invest,” Obama said. “This is because we have a strong and open economy, the world’s most productive workforce, a unique culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable colleges and universities, and a business environment marked by transparency, protection of intellectual property and the rule of law.”

Obama said inbound investment has long been an important component of the United States’ economy, and reaffirmed the country’s enduring commitment to encourage and support business investment from sources both at home and abroad.

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/iipdigital-en/index.html)