In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in the United States | Protection of Foreign Investment | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Office Real Estate and Land Ownership | Investment Aid | Investment Opportunities | Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer | Finding Assistance For Further Information
According to UNCTAD's 2022 World Investment Report, FDI flows to the U.S. rebounded strongly by 143.6%, from USD 151 billion in 2020 to USD 367 billion in 2021, mainly due to a surge in cross-border M&As. Reinvested earnings amounted to USD 200 billion in 2021, the highest level ever recorded. They were spread across many services industries, including information and communication, trade, transport and storage, finance and insurance and professional services. The U.S. FDI stock in 2021 reached USD 13,619 billion. Equity investments were up by 54%, and new greenfield project announcements also increased (+28%) to USD 86 billion. The country remained the world’s largest recipient of FDI (followed by China), thanks to its large consumer base, a predictable and transparent justice system, a productive workforce, a highly developed infrastructure and a business environment that fosters innovation. According to data from the U.S. International Trade Administration, FDI accounts for nearly 16% of U.S. business research and development (R&D) and directly supports almost 8 million jobs in the country. The main investing countries in the U.S. are Japan, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France. Most of these investments are in manufacturing, financial and insurance activities, and trade and maintenance. In 2021, California received the most investment, followed by Massachusetts and New York (BEA). The latest data available from OECD shows that in the first semester of 2022, FDI inflows to the U.S. decreased by USD 100 billion, amounting to around USD 74 billion in Q2 2022 (compared with nearly USD 124 billion in Q4 2021).
According to the latest The Economist’s Business Environment ranking, the United States is a top performer, occupying the 6th position out of 82 countries. The country remains the world's leading economic power, the largest international financial centre, and the third-largest country in the world in terms of population. The United States is one of the countries with the best regulatory performance in paying taxes. On the down side, there are the increasing inequalities and the polarised political landscape, as well as a high level of household debt. Furthermore, the Foreign Investment Risk Assessment Modernization Act (FIRRMA) significantly expanded the review authority of the Foreign Investment Commission (CFIUS) on the grounds of national security, a matter that has been seen as one of the major causes of the drop in Chinese investments towards the U.S. in recent years (as many Chinese investing companies are state-owned).
|Foreign Direct Investment||2020||2021||2022|
|FDI Inward Flow (million USD)||95,882||387,780||285,057|
|FDI Stock (million USD)||10,292,403||13,056,382||10,461,684|
|Number of Greenfield Investments*||1,655||1,691||2,075|
|Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD)||69,275||95,635||163,858|
Source: UNCTAD, Latest data available.
Note: * Greenfield 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.
|Main Investing Countries||2019, in %|
|Main Invested Sectors||2019, in %|
|Financial and insurance||12.1|
|Holding companies (non-bank)||5.6|
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||4.4|
Source: OFII: Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S. 2020, Latest data available.
The United States' strong points include:
Weak points for FDI in the US:
|Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors||United States||OECD||Germany|
|Index of Transaction Transparency*||7.0||6.5||5.0|
|Index of Manager’s Responsibility**||9.0||5.3||5.0|
|Index of Shareholders’ Power***||9.0||7.3||5.0|
Source: The World Bank - Doing Business, Latest data available.
At a federal and state level, foreign investors may be granted funding allowances such as long-term subsidised loans. In order to encourage new businesses in their territories, the states have started a competitive battle aimed at offering investors the best services and advantages possible. The main types of programs in the United States are tax credit, grant, loan and tax exception.
Foreign companies can benefit from aid, granted by three federal agencies:
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Latest Update: September 2023