Globalisation is under attack this election season in the US. With an anaemic economic recovery, angry US workers have found champions in both the Democratic and Republican parties, who are quick to state that these folks are victims of US trade policies and practices. None want to explain that as an ever-increasing variety of work can be produced in many locations across the world, an ever-increasing number of workers may be competing for the same work.
Some candidates call for substituting 'fair' trade for free trade. Others fall back on what was once called a 'Soviet' negotiation philosophy – in every transaction there is a winner and a loser, never a good bargain for both. With that diagnosis, the blame shifts to inept negotiators: smarter and tougher negotiators will mean better deals!
So, in this teachable moment, there is little learning, and both sides promise to undo current trade regimes.
Fortunately, for the international investor who wants to profit from the US economy, there do not seem to be many calls to keep you out. And, if you want in, there are many governors, mayors and local economic development agencies that will welcome your direct investments – greenfield for sure; acquisitions, it depends.
When deciding where to go, it is not all that difficult to get to a shortlist. Only a handful of US cities have experienced growth and increasing wealth during the past two decades. A few will be strong in your 'cluster'; so, if you are coming for talent and innovation, one of those is a likely choice. Others with have different key factors, such as logistics, supply chain, customer proximity, etc. Regional choices can also be narrowed quickly to meet your threshold requirements – the 'must-haves' – before getting into comparative assessments.
Going through the analytical paces, be sure to look ahead. A common shortcoming is focusing too much on current data and, this year, current noise.
Daniel Malachuk works with business and government leaders on global direct investment strategies. He has advised many of the world’s leading companies and served in the public sector as director of White House operations. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org