President Obama Expands SelectUSA

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On October 31, 2013, President Barack Obama announced plans to expand SelectUSA, a program created in 2011 to encourage investment in the U.S. economy. The program has already produced positive results, as foreign firms have started investing in manufacturing facilities in Georgia, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Based on this success, President Obama's plan to expand the program is great news for U.S. manufacturing.

President Obama created the SelectUSA Initiative in 2011 through Executive Order 13577 with the stated mission to "facilitate business investment in the United States in order to create jobs, spur economic growth, and promote American competitiveness." Specifically, SelectUSA's functions include offering information to U.S. and foreign firms about the benefits of investment in the United States and coordinating efforts throughout the Federal Government "to promote the United States as the premier location to operate a business." The Executive Order also created the Federal Interagency Investment Working Group to "coordinate activities to promote business investment and respond to specific issues that affect business investment decisions."

According to President Obama's recent remarks at a SelectUSA Investment Summit, the program already has benefitted U.S. manufacturing and jobs. He mentioned manufacturing investments by foreign firms, such as Voestalpine in Georgia, Bombardier in Kansas, and ASCO in Oklahoma, as examples of SelectUSA's successes. In the same remarks, President Obama explained his vision for expanding SelectUSA through four key steps: involving U.S. ambassadors in the program to encourage foreign firms to invest in the U.S.; increasing the level of outreach from Washington; reducing bureaucracy by creating "a single point of contact at the federal level" to navigate federal, state, and local business regulations; and helping states and cities compete, invite, and prepare for new investment.

SelectUSA seems to have had a positive impact on manufacturing investment since its inception in 2011. The Obama Administration's efforts to expand the program are a strong, positive signal to potential investors and should lead to additional investment and jobs.

-Clint Long