Driving German FDI – the U.S. as a Manufacturing & Distribution Hub, and an Export PlatformApril 24, 2014
Amy Zecha is an International Investment Specialist with SelectUSA. Her portfolio covers Central and Eastern Europe, including Germany.
This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.
SelectUSA just finished another successful event at the Hannover Messe manufacturing trade fair – the largest in the world – and now we’re gearing up for another big event in Germany. In September, we’ll be participating in Automechanika, a global trade show for the automotive industry. We hope you’ll join us!
It’s been a great couple of months for German investment in the United States, and we’ve had some exciting news in the auto industry. In a post last month, ITA’s Tradeology blog highlighted some impressive figures – including the 115% growth in U.S. auto exports of passenger vehicles between 2009 and 2013.
It is therefore no surprise to see international automakers – such as Germany’s BMW – continue to grow their U.S. manufacturing operations. At the end of March, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker joined BMW officials and others in Spartanburg, SC in celebrating the start of production of the X4 – and the announcement of the brand new X7. The addition of this model line will make Spartanburg BMW’s largest manufacturing facility in the world.
BMW, as a business, knows the value of manufacturing in the United States, and also the advantages of using the U.S. as an export platform. Today, BMW is one of the top auto exporters in the United States. More than half of all the cars produced by BMW at their Spartanburg plant are shipped to other markets beyond our borders. BMW has clearly harnessed the power of U.S. manufacturing and successfully coupled it with the export opportunities offered by U.S. trade agreements to maximize the potential of their U.S. operations.
This is just one case study of German success in the U.S. market. Success comes in many sizes – sometimes it’s the small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) that makes the commitment to the United States, like PTF Pfuller, a manufacturer of precision parts and assemblies for the semiconductor, food, medical technology, laser and aerospace industries. The CEO, Mr. Oliver Zintl spent two years working with Jenny Trick of Racine County Economic Development Corporation, after an initial meeting at the USA Investment Center organized by SelectUSA and CS Germany at Hannover Messe 2011. PTF established its U.S. division in Sturtevant, Wisconsin in August 2013 with initial plans to start with a small sales staff – but then noted the potential to add manufacturing and a distribution center within five years, creating at least 50 jobs. PTF cited the tremendous work of Racine County and Milwaukee 7 (a regional economic development organization), as well as the central location, access to existing customers in the region, and the quality of theGateway Technical College – which offers the potential for a nearby source of talent for the company.
These are two great case studies of German-owned companies setting up shop or expanding existing ones in the United States – and further evidence of why SelectUSA has identified Germany as a key focus market for FDI attraction. German investment in the U.S. accounts for over 10 percent of all FDI in the country, a significant figure when taken into account that the U.S. is the largest recipient of FDI in the world. In an effort to support this continued economic relationship, SelectUSA is already planning events in Frankfurt in conjunction with Automechanika in September.
This is just part of a great line-up of events SelectUSA has planned for the rest of the year. Stay tuned for more details around Automechanika and other events – and make sure to sign up for our free online newsletter to stay up to date on all our latest events!