Author Archive

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Tacoma, Washington Firms Translate Global Success into Local Jobs and Economic Growth

October 16, 2017

Susan Crawford is a communications specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service’s Pacific North Network 

U.S. Rep. Kilmer’s District Representative Nicholas Carr presented each of the three organizations with their Certificate of Appreciation at a recent event hosted by the World Trade Center Tacoma. L-R: Nicholas Carr, James Newman of Tacoma Community College, Dennis Morris of SAFE Boats International, Diane Mooney of U.S. Commercial Service Seattle, Jason Lollar of Lollar Guitars, Inc.

U.S. Rep. Kilmer’s District Representative Nicholas Carr presented each of the three organizations with their Certificate of Appreciation at a recent event hosted by the World Trade Center Tacoma. L-R: Nicholas Carr, James Newman of Tacoma Community College, Dennis Morris of SAFE Boats International, Diane Mooney of U.S. Commercial Service Seattle, Jason Lollar of Lollar Guitars, Inc.

Three small Tacoma-area organizations prove that it is possible to look beyond U.S. borders and succeed in the global marketplace. The World Trade Center Tacoma, the U.S. Commercial Service, and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer’s office recently recognized Tacoma Community College, Lollar Guitars, Inc., and SAFE Boats International with a U.S. Commercial Service Certificate of Appreciation for the positive impact these organizations have had on their community through exporting and international operations, and promotion of local jobs.

SAFE Boats International

SAFE Boats International, based in Bremerton, Wash., designs and builds aluminum boats that are used by military, law enforcement, and fire and rescue agencies worldwide. The company’s international sales account for 30 percent of total revenues and provide jobs for approximately 200 of the firm’s 400 employees.

Before signing any international distribution contracts, the firm contacts the U.S. Commercial Service to conduct background checks on potential agents to help ensure that they have a solid reputation and meet the firm’s partnership requirements. “The U.S. Commercial Service has helped us to grow our international sales and build solid business expansion opportunities worldwide,” said SAFE Boats International Chief Executive Officer Dennis Morris. “We value this relationship as a true ‘force multiplier’.”

Lollar Guitars, Inc.

Tacoma-based Lollar Guitars is a small, family-owned firm that designs and manufactures pickups for electric, bass and steel guitars. The U.S. Commercial Service has assisted Lollar Guitars with export documentation and international payment issues, and helped identify valuable international networking opportunities for the firm. During the past 10 years, the firm’s exports to more than 30 countries have expanded to reach 20 percent of total sales.

Tacoma Community College
Tacoma Community College (TCC) works closely with the U.S. Commercial Service to develop new international student markets. “The [U.S. Commercial Service] has been a terrific resource for our college in introducing new partners and connecting us with in-country representatives in China, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Mexico,” said James Newman, director of International Student Services at Tacoma Community College. Since 2009, TCC has expanded international student enrollment from 270 to 450 students, which in turn supports 11 full-time and 8 part-time employees. The local Tacoma economy also benefits from international student spending on goods and services, such as accommodations, food, and transportation. Community members in the College’s homestay program benefit from compensation of $625 per month.

Local Export Resources

It’s true that exporting can be more complicated than selling in the United States, and that’s where the U.S. Commercial Service can help. Our trade professionals are located in more than 100 U.S. cities and more than 75 countries to help U.S. companies get started in exporting or increase sales to new global markets. For more information, locate your closest U.S. Commercial Service office.

U.S. Commercial Service provides educational material and short how-to videos for firms interested in learning the basics of exporting.

Country Commercial Guides are another ITA resource for firms interested in exploring worldwide market opportunities. The guides provide information on market conditions, opportunities, regulations, and business customs for 125 nations.

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Startup Global starts local

October 12, 2017

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

By Tricia Van Orden, Deputy Director of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee Secretariat

Philadelphia-area startups recently gathered at Temple University’s Fox School of Business for advice on going global with business. The Startup Global event, a partnership between the International Trade Administration (ITA) and the Global Innovation Forum, helps entrepreneurs and early-stage companies strategically plan for international business. Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live beyond the U.S. borders, and modern technology has made it easier than ever to reach them. International business expert and attorneys offered some important lessons:

1. Start with what you know and leverage others’ knowledge. Whether it’s tapping into big data from online platforms to gain market insights or scheduling a meeting with a business counselor at a local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC), you don’t have to do it all. A plethora of online tools and community resources are available to help startups and small business find success in international markets. The U.S. Government, and in many areas, State and local governments, offers free training and counseling to develop an international business plan and get started doing business globally. A great starting point is your local SBDC.

If your startup or small business has done business in one or two foreign markets and you’re interested in finding new opportunities and expanding sales, contact your local USEAC.

2. Know when to seek the counsel of a lawyer you trust. International business can be complicated, and you need to ensure your ideas, trademarks, and copyrights are protected and that you’re compliant with U.S. and international laws. Professional legal guidance will help you find the right path. Until you’re ready for that step, peruse the intellectual property information available on export.gov.  Another resource is the Export Legal Assistance Network, a network of attorneys who volunteer their time to provide an initial legal consultation free of charge to new exporters to assist with issues related to export licensing, taxation, tariffs, and intellectual property.

3. It’s never too late to go back to school.  Your campus days might be over, but local universities and community colleges often provide opportunities for business expansion. You might find your next partner or investor at networking event, and many schools offer international immersion programs that can broaden your global mindset and help you make connections in markets of interest. At many business schools, students team up with local companies to conduct market research and develop market entry strategies.  Companies interested in exporting can take advantage of these cooperative agreements and receive market research products either free of charge or for a very low fee.

If you are interested in hosting a Startup Global event in your city, please contact Pat Kirwan  from the Department of Commerce or Jake Colvin from the Global Innovation Forum.

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FDI Strengthens America’s High-Tech Competitiveness

October 5, 2017

By Maureen Book, Research Analyst, SelectUSA 

Map of United States highlighting high-tech employment concentration by metro area, 2015 Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 County Business Patterns, Accessed July 6, 2017, factfinder.census.gov

High-Tech Industry Employment Concentration, High-Tech Employment/All Employment, by Metro Area, 2015 Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 County Business Patterns, Accessed July 6, 2017, factfinder.census.gov

SelectUSA released its second industry-focused report: “High-Tech Industries: The Role of FDI in Driving Innovation and Growth” on Sept. 19. This report provides an in-depth look at high-tech clusters in the United States, and gives the first-ever analysis of the role of foreign direct investment (FDI) in high-tech industries. The report’s biggest takeaway is that FDI plays a significant role in these industries.

Where are high-tech clusters?

High-tech industries have a concentration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics  and employ more than twice that of the national average. After analyzing the U.S. high-tech industry and considering participation of both foreign and domestic firms, SelectUSA explored the geography of high-tech companies in the United States by state, to identify large groups, or clusters, of employment.  The top employers of high-tech workers were California, Texas, and New York, while the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Washington boast the highest employment per capita of high-tech jobs.

High-Tech Clusters by Metro Area

Looking at metro areas with the highest concentration of high-tech employment, SelectUSA found that San Jose, Calif., tops the list with more than 34 percent of local employment in high-tech industries. They were followed closely by Elkhart, Ind., with nearly 33 percent, and Huntsville, Ala., with more than 31 percent. While the concentration in San Jose might not be surprising because it is the largest city in the Silicon Valley area, Elkhart and Huntsville both have industry concentrations nearby to make them important locations for high-tech companies. Elkhart’s economy is heavily concentrated in the transportation equipment manufacturing industry, and centers around recreational and commercial vehicle manufacturing. Huntsville is home to many aerospace and defense contractors, and military technology firms.

The Role of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)  

The data cited is provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. 

Line graph showing FDI impact in U.S. high-tech industries from 2007-2015. Three outputs are measured: R&D, contributions to U.S. exports and their contribution to value-add. FDI’s contribution to value-add has been rising steadily over time, except for the dips in 2008-2009, where all indicators experienced a shift downwards due to the recession. FDI’s contribution to U.S. goods exports has also been rising since 2009, except for the past couple of years, which have seen a decline. R&D spending has remained relatively constant from 2007-2015.

FDI Impact in U.S. High-Tech Industries, by Majority Foreign-Owned U.S. Affiliates Source: Source: Department of Commerce, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Accessed Oct. 24, 2016, http://www.bea.gov/iTable/index_MNC.cfm Note: Data for some high-tech industries has not been included due to lack of available data.

Using our definition of high-tech industries and data published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, SelectUSA looked at the role that FDI plays in high-tech industries. For those not familiar with the terminology, FDI generally captures a long-term relationship with the management of a foreign enterprise, which is usually linked with the real output of the country in which it operates.

Our data found that FDI stock in high-tech industries reached more than $1.6 trillion in 2016, and supported 2.1 million jobs in the United States. In fact, the high-tech component of FDI is quite robust; nearly 44 percent of all FDI in the United States is invested in high-tech industries.

Compensation, R&D, Exports, and Value-added Activities

Beyond employment, one must also acknowledge the significant impact that foreign firms in high-tech sectors play in other economic activities. For instance, U.S. affiliates of foreign-owned firms on average offer a higher compensation to U.S. workers than domestic . But FDI in high-tech industries offer a greater average compensation than other FDI companies in other industries. U.S. affiliates of foreign-owned firms also greatly contribute to the innovation sector of our economy, spending nearly $42 billion on research and development (R&D) in the high-tech sector. In 2015, they also contributed $154 billion towards U.S. goods exports and more than $373 billion towards value-added activities.

Historical-cost basis bar graph showing FDI entering the United States since 2007. Blue bars show FDI entering the country, but not classified as high-tech, and the red bar is all FDI entering the U.S. that is classified as high-tech. The gray line shows the percentage of high-tech FDI compared to all FDI entering the U.S. Looking at 2016, we can see that high-tech FDI accounted for nearly 44% of all FDI in the U.S. and amounted to $1.6 trillion. FDI in high-tech has also been growing by an average of more than 10% each year since 2009.

High-Tech Position in the United States, Historical-Cost Basis Source: Department of Commerce, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Accessed Aug. 17, 2017, http://www.bea.gov/iTable/index_MNC.cfm

Source Markets Supporting High-Tech

We also find that Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Japan are among the largest source markets for R&D spending, exports, and value-added activities in high-tech industries. Beyond that, they are also several of the United States’ leading trading partners. Collaborating with them on FDI reinforces the trade relationship and strengthens our nation’s bilateral ties with these partners.

For more information:

Please visit selectusa.gov to view the full report, other industry reports, international and domestic FDI fact sheets, and SelectUSA’s data visualization tool, SelectUSA Stats.

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Showcasing our strengths at Discover Global Markets

September 29, 2017

By Jason Lindesmith, Acting Director, Communications, U.S. Field, U.S. Commercial Service

Attendees listen as Erin Walsh, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service delivers remarks on Sept. 18 in Cleveland.

Attendees listen as Erin Walsh, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service delivers remarks on Sept. 18 in Cleveland.

Last week in Cleveland, more than 350 participants attended U.S. Commercial Service’s showcase forum, Discover Global Markets: U.S. Manufacturers to Europe and Beyond.

Discover Global Markets (DGM) events highlight the unique strengths of the U.S. Commercial Service and its global network. U.S. government trade experts representing more than 16 international markets, and dozens of industry experts descended on Cleveland to help hundreds of small businesses establish and grow their exports.

One of the keynote speakers, Erin Walsh, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, addressed the crowd to stress the importance of free and fair trade in expanding U.S. exports:

“The International Trade Administration and its U.S. Commercial Service plays a unique role in connecting both large and small U.S. companies to trading partners around the world,” Erin said. “Our Commercial Specialists around the globe thrive on providing the personal touch for our clients. We help U.S. businesses succeed in trade through customized solutions, from how to get your products through customs to commercial diplomacy such as breaking down barriers to entry.”

So how does the DGM agenda showcase the strengths of the U.S. Commercial Service?

U.S. Commercial Service staff from the International Trade Administration offered clients personal attention and held over 290 one-on-one counseling sessions with U.S. companies, helping them develop strategies for international growth. These sessions included staff representing more than 16 international markets from our global network of trade and policy professionals.

Where else can you receive one-on-one feedback from in-country experts from around the world without needing to travel overseas?

In addition, DGM demonstrated our extensive domestic contacts across U.S. manufacturing industries – more than 50 meetings between manufacturing original equipment manufacturers and prospective small business suppliers took place at the event. Breaking into global supply chains can provide small businesses the opportunity to sell into many global markets within a short time.

The next DGM event will be held in Kansas City, Mo. in April 2018 and will focus on design and construction sectors.

I encourage you to subscribe to the DGM e-mail list for any updates as the next event comes together. I look forward to seeing you there so you can take advantage of the U.S. Commercial Service’s strengths on display!

 

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Help Us Plan the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit

September 19, 2017

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

By Fred Volcansek, Executive Director, SelectUSA

It’s already that time of year again: our team is gearing up for the next SelectUSA Investment Summit. On June 20-22, 2018, the SelectUSA team will join thousands of international business investors, economic developers, and service providers at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center to convene the highest-level event of its kind in the United States.

Photo from the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit, June 18-20, 2017. Pictured (from left to right): Safra Catz, CEO, Oracle; Gilbert Lee, CFO, Fuling Global, Inc.; Greg Scheu, President, ABB Americas Region; Ludwig Willisch, President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board, BMW (U.S.) Holding Corp.

Photo from the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit, June 18-20, 2017. Pictured (from left to right): Safra Catz, CEO, Oracle; Gilbert Lee, CFO, Fuling Global, Inc.; Greg Scheu, President, ABB Americas Region; Ludwig Willisch, President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board, BMW (U.S.) Holding Corp.

This past June, SelectUSA held its largest Investment Summit yet. Hosted by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and headlined by Secretaries Alexander Acosta (Labor), Steven T. Mnuchin (Treasury), and Rick Perry (Energy), as well as the UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox, the 2017 Summit brought more than 2,800 international participants together. The 79,000-sq.-ft. Exhibition Hall was filled to capacity with economic development organizations from 51 U.S. states and territories. CEOs from prominent U.S. and foreign companies participated in armchair discussions and breakout sessions to discuss the latest developments in FDI. I encourage you to read my summary blog post here for more details.

Of course, none of this happened overnight; planning for this important event is neither quick nor simple. Our team spends many months fine-tuning and developing ideas into reality. We are dedicated to bringing high quality discussions and influential thought leaders and executives to the Summit every year. Next year will be no exception, and we want to ensure that it is not only relevant, but full of information that can be instantly used to increase investment in the United States.

The SelectUSA team is planning the plenary and breakout sessions, Investment Academy, Exhibition Hall, and more. There are a lot of exciting developments in the pipeline, but we want you to be involved as well! Indeed, much of the content of previous Summits came from proposals from our stakeholders and partners across the fields of economic development and FDI.

So, we want to hear from you. What are your ideas for topics that should be covered? Do you have a speaker in mind? Is there a subject that needs to be included? The Call for Proposals is live; let us know what should be included in the program.

Additionally, we are looking to fill the Summit events calendar with collateral and spin-off events, hosted by our friends in the economic development community. These events are often where new job-creating investments begin, and we want to build on the success of last year’s calendar. SelectUSA welcomes your input and we want to make the 2018 Summit our best yet.

For more information on the SelectUSA Investment Summit, please visit www.selectusasummit.us.

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The NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional Credential Program Helps Advance U.S. Exports and International Trade

September 14, 2017

About the authors: Yuki Fujiyama is a trade finance specialist in the Office of Finance and Insurance Industries and the author of the Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters. Fujiyama currently serves as an ex-officio Board Member of NASBITE International.  Cory Simek, the Executive Secretary of the Missouri District Export Council, currently serves as the Director of the U.S. Commercial Service – St. Louis, Missouri.

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Helping U.S. businesses, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), enter and compete in global markets is a core mission of the International Trade Administration (ITA), the federal government’s lead export promotion agency.

As part of that ongoing effort, ITA and the University of Missouri International Trade Center–a joint program of the Missouri Small Business & Technology Centers and the University’s Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business–recently partnered to present a three-day interactive training workshop designed for those seeking to earn the Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) credential.

Participants of the NASBITE CGBP Preparation Training Workshop on August 8-10, 2017 at the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo.

Participants of the NASBITE CGBP Preparation Training Workshop on August 8-10, 2017 at the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo.

The CGBP credential program, which helps advance U.S. exports and international trade, is administered by NASBITE International (NASBITE), a non-profit and ITA strategic partner.  Launched in 2005, the NASBITE CGBP provides a benchmark for competency in global commerce by certifying an individual’s ability to conduct international business at the professional level across four main categories:

  • Global Business Management
  • Global Marketing
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Trade Finance

These categories capture the key challenges facing SMEs in today’s highly competitive global business environment.

To become a CGBP, a candidate must pass a three-hour exam comprising 150 multiple-choice questions, and have completed two years of either college-level study or work in global commerce.

NASBITE CGBP – Certified Global Business Professional – Credential Logo

NASBITE CGBP – Certified Global Business Professional – Credential Logo

Since 2005, ITA has used the CGBP credential program to enhance the ability of its employees to assist American SME exporters in accessing global markets.  The CGBP credential enables ITA team members to diversify their skills and stay abreast of the ever-changing aspects of international trade.  To date, almost 2,000 professionals worldwide, including several hundred ITA trade specialists and commercial officers, have been awarded the CGBP credential.

The three-day workshop was facilitated by NASBITE Past President, Jim Foley, who is currently serving as the Director of the Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at Bradley University and as the National Co-Chair of the International Trade Committee of America’s SBDC, which represents a nationwide network of approximately 1,000 SBDCs.  ITA co-facilitated the workshop’s trade finance session and helped participants learn about the methods of payment and export finance options described in the U.S. Commerce Department’s Trade Finance Guide.

In addition to the annual CGBP Preparation Training Workshop, the University of Missouri International Trade Center actively collaborates with ITA’s two local U.S. export assistance centers in St. Louis and Kansas City to assist Missouri-based SMEs with export planning and foreign market sales.  The Center won the 2016 President’s “E” Award for Export Service in recognition of its dedication to supporting Missouri SMEs in understanding the export process and entering new international markets.

In 2016, Missouri’s $14 billion in goods exports helped contribute to the $2.21 trillion of U.S. goods and services exports. In 2015, nearly 88,000 U.S. jobs were supported by goods exports from Missouri.  In 2014, over 5,000 SMEs in Missouri exported their goods to global markets, accounting for 85 percent of Missouri goods exporters.

With the new knowledge gained from the three-day workshop at the University of Missouri, participants, who are ready to take the next step in obtaining the CGBP credential, are now more equipped to enter, grow, and succeed in global markets!

Do you need more info on how to become a CGBP?

Visit the NASBITE website at http://nasbite.org.

Do you want to learn more about how to enter, grow, and succeed in global markets?

Visit the U.S. government’s export portal at https://www.export.gov.

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#FDIintheUSA: Nearly 7 Million American Jobs

September 7, 2017

By Elizabeth Schaefer, Director of Investment Analysis, SelectUSA

As Director of Investment Analysis, I am responsible for leading SelectUSA’s data evaluation efforts related to foreign direct investment (FDI) promotion in the United States. So, it was with great interest (and I’ll admit excitement) that I reviewed the newly released preliminary 2015 and revised 2014 FDI activity data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), which follows the July release of 2016 FDI Inward Stock data.

You may be asking, “What does this mean?” Here’s the breakdown…

The updated data provides a picture of the inward flow of FDI into the United States, as well as the economic activity of U.S. affiliates of foreign-owned firms, from employment figures to research and development (R&D) spending. Overall, the numbers reflect continued, steady FDI growth in America.

But as always, it makes the most sense to start at the beginning.

FDI Definition and Parameters 

FDI, as defined by BEA, generally captures a long-term relationship with the management of a foreign enterprise, which is usually linked with the real output of the country in which it operates. In other words, FDI refers to businesses based in other countries and markets.

At the end of 2016, FDI stock (the total amount) reached $3.7 trillion, a 12.8 percent increase from the revised $3.3 trillion 2015 end-of-year figure. This year, on-year growth outpaces the trend in FDI stock growth over time. On average, during the last five years, FDI stock has grown nearly 9 percent each year.

Sources of Inward FDI Stock 

Sources of Inward FDI Stock

The latest available 2016 data show continued strong investment relationships with the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and Germany, all of which are historically large sources of investment into the United States. In fact, these top four sources of direct investment alone account for nearly half of all FDI in the United States. However, compared to the previous year of available data, this concentration has slightly dissipated, with economies like Ireland and Switzerland gaining overall shares of U.S. FDI.

The top four fastest-growing sources of FDI in the United States, calculated by looking at annual growth rates since 2011, are Thailand, Argentina, China, and Singapore. In contrast to the largest sources of investment, these top four relatively new sources of investment make up less than 4 percent of total FDI stock in the United States.

It is important to note that these figures attribute FDI ownership to the market at the top of each investment’s ownership chain – the ultimate beneficial owner or “parent company” – rather than capturing investment passed through intermediate markets via subsidiaries.

Industry Destinations of Inward FDI Stock 

Industry Destinations of Inward FDI Stock

The latest available data continue to show enduring ties between FDI and the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing industries attracted an incredible 41 percent of the FDI pie at the end of 2016. Diving a bit deeper, the chemicals, transportation equipment, food, and machinery manufacturing industries captured 64 percent of manufacturing FDI. Looking at year-on-year changes, the professional, scientific, and technical services sectors experienced dramatic growth, increasing in value by more than 28 percent. The diverse mix of industry and sector destinations for FDI in the United States continues to demonstrate that the United States is an important destination and market for globally competitive companies.

Jobs 

Direct Employment by Majority Foreign-Owned Firms in the United States

In 2015, FDI from majority foreign-owned firms was responsible for 6.8 million direct jobs in the United States, an increase of 1.5 million since the end of the 2009 recession. These are high-impact jobs, too; the average annual compensation per direct worker in 2015 was $79,040, almost a quarter higher than the national average.

Other Related Activities

R&D

FDI continues to enhance U.S. global competitiveness by bolstering R&D spending in the United States. The U.S.-based affiliates of majority foreign-owned firms spent nearly $57 billion on R&D activities in the United States in 2015.

Exports

Linkages between trade and investment also remain clear. Exports of goods shipped by majority foreign-owned affiliates declined nearly 20 percent in 2015 compared to 2014. Despite this dip, the $353 billion in goods exports accounted for 23 percent of all U.S. goods exports.

What’s Next?

You can explore this data and more with SelectUSA’s data visualization tool and updated fact sheets at SelectUSA.gov. Additionally, I encourage you to check out #FDIintheUSA on Twitter, our annual campaign that highlights the economic benefits of FDI at the state/territory and national levels through infographics and interactive conversations.