By Alejandra Y. Castillo
WASHINGTON, USA – Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) plays an important role in regional economies across the country. The United States is home to the largest total of FDI in the world, according to SelectUSA, a program of the department of commerce’s international trade administration, which promotes and facilitates foreign business investment in the US. This means year after year, that more and more businesses from across the globe are choosing to make business investments in our country.
FDI and exports are one of EDA’s investment priorities, which provide our agency an overarching framework that ensures our grant investment portfolio contributes to local efforts to build, improve, or better leverage economic assets. This investment priority ensures that economic development planning and implementation projects enhance or build community assets that support the growth of US exports and increased foreign direct investment. With new EDA initiatives like Tech Hubs focused on propelling American innovations for the global market, as both national security and economic growth imperatives, there has never been a more important time to connect and strengthen domestic economic development with foreign investment goals.
Since the beginning of the Biden administration, EDA has invested over $232.9 million in 98 projects that promote and support FDI to help communities and regions build capacity for economic development.
This includes close to $208.7 million in 64 projects that are, according to recipient estimates, expected to create or retain 24,380 jobs and attract over $3.84 billion in private investment. EDA also invested close to $24.3 million in 34 projects to support planning, research, technical assistance, access to capital, and other activities that are essential for successful economic development and job creation in the future.
Recent EDA investments in support of FDI include a $500,000 Assistance to Coal Communities grant to Ivy Tech Community College in Kokomo, Indiana, to provide autonomous robots and other equipment for a workforce training program that will prepare workers for in-demand positions in advanced manufacturing. StarPlus Energy, a joint venture of automotive manufacturer Stellantis and Korean-owned manufacturer Samsung, is currently constructing an electric battery factory in the community and plans to employ up to 1,400 workers.
In Little Rock, Arkansas, EDA just announced a $3 million investment to Pulaski County to extend rail service to support manufacturing business growth at the Port of Little Rock. More than 40 businesses are located at the port, which employs more than 4,000 people. The area is designated as a Foreign Trade Zone.
Additionally, a $1.6 million EDA investment supported water and wastewater treatment plant improvements in Pender, North Carolina, to prevent flooding and support economic resiliency at an industrial park. The improvements supported growth of new businesses, including an Indian-owned hose manufacturing company, Polyhose, Inc., which built a 52,500-square-foot production and manufacturing facility in the industrial park.
In addition to our investments, EDA works with our economic development organization stakeholders to encourage their participation in the annual SelectUSA Investment Summit. It is the top event in the United States for FDI promotion; connecting investors, companies, economic development organizations and industry experts together. This year’s Summit is scheduled for May 1-4, 2023.
As the global economy continues to grow, EDA is working closely with our grantees, as well as our state and regional partners to support a variety of FDI and ongoing export enhancement strategies that will drive investments, capacity building and job creation across our nation.