US president Barack Obama outlined to attendees of the SelectUSA Investment Summit, held March 23 to 24 in Washington, DC, his plans to promote FDI in the US. One involves the launch of the SelectUSA Academy, a new partnership between state and federal economic development officials to offer online and on-site training programmes for investors. 

Mr Obama also emphasised that his proposed budget for this coming fiscal year reflects new investments in education, job training and making two years of community college free, as well as modernising US transportation infrastructure, and making the Internet, wireless and broadband far more accessible. While the budget requires negotiations with the US Congress before it can be formally approved, Mr Obama expressed confidence that a path would be found.

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He emphasised his commitment to the bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority and strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe. “And I’m confident we can, together, reauthorise the Export-Import Bank of the US, giving our businesses one more tool that they need to compete,” he said.

He announced new action to reform the L-1B visa category, which allows corporations to temporarily move workers from a foreign office to a US office in a faster, simpler way. “This will make it easier for global companies that are present in the US today to launch and invest in the US,” he said. “This could benefit hundreds of thousands of non-immigrant workers and their employers; who, in turn, will benefit our entire economy and spur additional investment.” 

He also emphasised his push for comprehensive immigration reform, which he said would make the US even more attractive to businesses, in addition to growing the US economy, shrinking its deficits, and keeping the country safer, stronger and smarter. “That’s why I’m going to continue to push and prod and poke and cajole friends in the Republican Party to get on board and help us get this done,” he said. 

He described the US as more attractive to FDI than ever before. The reason: over 60 straight months the country has seen 12 million new jobs. The current total US stock of FDI is $2800bn. In 2014, the US received $92bn in FDI flows.