U.S. seeking foreign investment increase

Oct. 10, 2011 at 1:09 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- The United States is setting its sights on $1 trillion in new foreign investment over five years, sources told The Wall Street Journal.

The goal is to increase foreign investment by 15 percent over the past 10-year average, which is $174 billion per year.

To reach the target, the Obama administration is expected to direct Cabinet secretaries to spend more of their time discussing investments with foreign chief executives officers. The Department of Commerce and the State Department will also put more staff to work helping foreign companies negotiate U.S. rules and regulations.

That would include helping companies find tax breaks or leverage investment for tax breaks, but it would not include creating new tax breaks to lure in investment, the Journal said.

"There's no reason why we shouldn't be a lot more aggressive and a lot more competitive and a lot more welcoming, and a lot hungrier, quite honestly, as a country, said General Electric Co. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt, chairman of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

"This still is the world's biggest economy. It still is an attractive place to do business," Immelt said recently at a State Department event.

Overall, the United States attracted 40 percent of the world's foreign investment total 10 years ago, a figure that has dropped to 17 percent, said economist Mathew Slaughter at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

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