The US government has launched a promotion agency that aims to attract investment and create jobs. It will report directly to the White House on its progress.
Called SelectUSA, the agency will showcase the country as the world’s top business location and provide help to foreign and domestic investors with accessing federal-level programmes and services related to business investment. Among these will include grants, loans and tax incentives.
Barry Johnson, executive director of the agency, said: “We were created because of a dynamic that is well recognised, that there is greater competition out there for business dollars. Businesses investing is good for the economy. [The US] has always been a top destination for business investment, and accounts for the greatest percentage of it, but now we are a smaller piece of the pie. We were about 25%, and are now closer to 12% to 13%. That woke us up. Now we have other nations competing.”
The US is regularly found at the top of global investment charts provided by greenfield investment monitor fDiMarkets, but its share has certainly declined in recent years as other countries, especially China and Brazil, find themselves growing in popularity.
Prior to the establishment of SelectUSA, the country had an office called Invest in America that served a similar role. The new agency focuses more on attracting and retaining business investment, however, and will have more authority, according to Mr Johnson.
Asked what the US needs to do to be more competitive, Mr Johnson talked about the creation of “dynamic ecosystems”, which would effectively be environments where various sectors of business and commerce can thrive.
He said: “If these ecosystems are amped up regarding their research and development, and you have companies working with universities to attract talent, then jobs will be created. You will see the administration deploying our resources in a way that is aligned and integrated, and will create environments that are welcoming to businesses. Then we can compete better because we’ll have local economies with this financing.”
One of the agency’s next projects is a soon-to-be-released map of the country's industrial clusters. Mr Johnson said the map would allow businesses to see where there was critical mass.