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In this page: FDI in Figures | Why You Should Choose to Invest in the United States | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Investment Opportunities


FDI in Figures

After the FDI flows dropped in 2009 due to the financial crisis which weakened the global economy, their inflows recovered in 2010-2011, but then, they slowed down again in 2012 and 2013. The United States is the world’s number one foreign investor and it remains in the first global rank in terms of receiving FDI inflows. In 2012, FDI reached USD 166 billion. The country offers a predictable and transparent juridical system, highly developed infrastructures and an access to the world’s most lucrative consumer market. Consequently, the country remains the world’s largest economic power, it holds the first place in international finance and is the third most populated country in the world. The United States ranks 4th out of 189 countries according to the classification Doing Business 2014 issued by the World Bank in relation to the quality of its business climate.


Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  United States OECD Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 7.0 6.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 9.0 5.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 7.0 5.0
Index of Investor Protection**** 8.3 6.1 5.0

Source: Doing Business - Last Available Data.

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.

Foreign Direct Investment 201120122013
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 223,759160,569187,528
FDI Stock (million USD) 3,510,3953,923,9694,935,167
Performance Index*, Ranking on 181 Economies 62--
Potential Index**, Ranking on 177 Economies 2--
Number of Greenfield Investments*** 1,7061,5521,615
FDI Inwards (in % of GFCF****)
FDI Stock (in % of GDP) 22.524.029.4

Source: UNCTAD - Last Available Data.

Note: * The UNCTAD Inward FDI Performance Index is Based on a Ratio of the Country's Share in Global FDI Inflows and its Share in Global GDP. ** The UNCTAD Inward FDI Potential Index is Based on 12 Economic and Structural Variables Such as GDP, Foreign Trade, FDI, Infrastructures, Energy Use, R&D, Education, Country Risk. *** Green Field Investments Are a Form of Foreign Direct Investment Where a Parent Company Starts a New Venture in a Foreign Country By Constructing New Operational Facilities From the Ground Up. **** Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) Measures the Value of Additions to Fixed Assets Purchased By Business, Government and Households Less Disposals of Fixed Assets Sold Off or Scrapped.

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Why You Should Choose to Invest in the United States

Strong Points
The American market has several advantages. With a population of more than 300 million people and the world's strongest economy, the United States represents the most important market in the world, irrespective of the sector. The American manpower is considered to have a high level of qualification and to be one of the most productive and most innovative in the world. The United States has developed strong regional "clusters", which are a collection of companies in the same activity sector in a zone. These centers are very attractive to foreign investors.
Weak Points
The country's weak points are a very competitive economy and a financial system that has been seriously affected by the financial crisis. The American economy is in grave difficulty. The subprime lending crisis has ended some major investment projects.
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
The American policies on taxation and regulations provide foreign investors with a lot of management freedom.  However, in the present security environment, foreign-government controlled investments are sometimes considered as a source of concern, more and more so since the tragic September 11th events.

The American Ministry of External trade provides a Invest in America: Guide to Federal Incentives and Programs Available to Investors, which gives information, programs and appropriate federal agencies.
Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By the United States
USA is a signatory to 46 conventions.
UNCTAD allows you to visualize the list of conventions signed by USA, and to download these conventions.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Acquisition of Holdings
A majority holding interest in stock of a local company is legal in the US (with a few exceptions).
Obligation to Declare
The reference text for foreign investments is the International Investment Survey Act of 1976. Each State has its own regulation aiming at or having an incidence on Foreign Direct Investments and of which the inspiration is more or less liberal.
Competent Organization For the Declaration
International Trade Administration
Requests For Specific Authorizations
Investments shall be governed by sector specific policies and procedures.

Learn more about Foreign Investment in the United States on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Investment Opportunities

Investment Aid Agency
EDA (Economic Development Administration)
Development (depending on the Department of Agriculture - USDA)
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
USA Export Import, USA Government Procurement
Tenders Info, Tenders in United States
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Other Useful Resources
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

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Learn more about Investing in the United States on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Last Updates: January 2015