US officials court foreign investors at SelectUSA summit

Global Business

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – JUNE 22: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the SelectUSA 2018 Investment Summit June 22, 2018 in National Harbor, Maryland. The investment summit encourages direct foreign investment in companies across the United States. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/AFP)

The U.S. Commerce Department has wrapped up its annual event aimed at attracting foreign business investment into the United States.

CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports. 

The Commerce Department said four international companies at the Select USA Investment Summit announced projects worth more than $600 million. Some 3,000 potential investors from more than 65 international markets attended the summit, a two-day event now in its fifth year. 

The summit just outside of Washington, D.C. came at a time when the U.S. is involved in a number of trade disputes around the globe. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that is not a sign of the U.S. retreating from the world.

“There’s a myth of American retreat from the world, and I have to tell you it is just a myth. President Trump’s agenda is the most pro-business, most pro-international trade of any president in history. It’s been a game-changer for the American economic landscape, and it is one that your company will want to be a part of,” Pompeo said at the summit.

Zhao Zhenge, the head of the China Chamber of International Commerce admits fears of a U.S. trade war with China have kept some people away.

“We wish that the two countries can negotiate or can have a dialogue or better communications so that we can do business. Through business investment and cooperation, we can minimize the trade differences,” he said.

Zhao said the Chinese delegation – usually the largest – was significantly smaller this year.

Before the official Investment Summit kicked off, Chinese businesses already operating in the U.S., held their own event for the visiting Chinese investors. The message: come join us.

And a number of governors of U.S. states echoed the appeal.

“We want Chinese investors in America. We do. We want Chinese investors in Kentucky. We do. And my commitment to you is to help start forming strong partnerships. And I am telling you that the ability for us to grow together is great,” said Matt Bevin, the Governor of Kentucky.

In the first half of the year, foreign direct investment from China has significantly dropped. Still, U.S. commerce officials insist: there’s never been a better time to do business.

“You can just sense the energy, you can sense the excitement, we had over 10 governors here, we had 14 chiefs of mission. We want to show that USA is a great place to invest,” said Karen Dunn, Deputy U.S. Commerce Secretary.

Several potential investors who registered for the event with the Commerce Department, including some from China, had their visa applications rejected by the State Department. One delegate said if the Americans want our money, the left hand really needs to start talking to the right hand.

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