ABC News’ Mary Bruce Reports:
Despite recent signs that economic growth is slowing, the White House is touting foreign direct investment in the U.S. in an effort to convince the public, and voters, that the president’s policies will help create long-term growth. Foreign direct investment in the U.S. rebounded from 2009 levels and grew by 49 percent in 2010, according to a new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers, but still not enough to reach the 2008 level. The U.S. continues to be the number one destination for foreign investment worldwide.
“At a time where we need to use every tool in our toolbox to continue to put Americans back to work and grow the economy here at home, promoting foreign direct investment is an important opportunity to accelerate our economic recovery,” President Obama said in a written statement.
According to the White House, foreign-based companies create well-paid jobs for American workers and boost job creation. In the U.S. there are 5.7 million workers employed at these foreign direct investor plants, including 13 percent of the entire American manufacturing workforce. These are jobs that pay well. The average pay is over $70,000 per worker, over 30 percent higher than the average pay.
President Obama is encouraging foreign investors to keep it coming. “My administration is committed to ensuring that the United States continues to be the most attractive place for businesses to locate, invest, grow, and create jobs. We encourage and support business investment from sources both at home and abroad,” the president said in a statement underscoring his administration’s commitment to an open investment policy.
“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. Consistent with our national security and while ensuring a level playing field for American investors, we will do just that,” he said.
The report finds that the U.S. is attractive because of its open economy and very low barriers to foreign direct investment. Last year close to 90 percent of foreign direct investment came from Canada, Europe and Japan, according to the report.
“This remains the most competitive and most desirable place for investment in the world and that investment has had a great impact on the economy,” CEA Chairman Austan Goolsbee told reporters today.