Mr. Barry Matherly, CEcD, FM, is the 2016 Chair of the International Economic Development Council, and the President and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership in Richmond, Virginia.
As Chairman of International Economic Development Council’s (IEDC) Board of Directors, I am very pleased to attend the 3rd SelectUSA Investment Summit this summer. Since 2011, SelectUSA has facilitated more than US$19 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States, creating and retaining thousands of jobs while continuing to spur economic growth and promote American competitiveness. Last year’s Investment Summit was especially remarkable, welcoming 2,600 participants from more than 70 international markets and 500 economic development officials from across the United States. Since March 2015, participants have already announced approximately $5.5 billion in new American investments and supporting more than 9,000 American jobs. IEDC has always appreciated the partnership it shares with SelectUSA, as we jointly build a collaborative platform for federal and state economic development officials and establish a better understanding of the role EDOs play in securing FDI.
With SelectUSA, EDOs now have an advocate at the national level that helps attract, retain, and grow investment in the United States by coordinating a platform for international marketing and high-level advocacy to assist economic developers’ efforts in competing globally for investment. Together, these efforts stimulate FDI flows into our nation by allowing foreign investors to develop stronger relationships with American economic developers.
Improving the economic well-being and quality of life for a community through job creation and retention is one of the main objectives of EDOs. Our partnership with SelectUSA strengthens the ability of EDOs to attract FDI to their communities by developing and promoting awareness of regional assets, identifying investor leads, establishing relationships between EDOs and foreign investors, and reinforcing the local supply chain by connecting investors with small businesses and other service providers in their communities. Because of this, EDOs are in part responsible for contributing to the creation of 12 million direct, indirect and spillover jobs that arise from FDI. That accounts for 8.5% of total American labor force.
IEDC is the premier organization for economic development practitioners, with over 4,800 members, that has always been on the leading edge of economic development practice and research. IEDC actively supports FDI attraction by offering an ever increasing number of conferences and events, as well as enhanced partnerships with partner organizations and federal agencies. I am excited to be part of IEDC’s initiatives as we help open the doors to expanded opportunity. This is why I designate 2016 as the Year of Economic Developer, to coincide with IEDC’s 90th anniversary. Join us as we celebrate the achievements of economic developers and recognize the efforts of development professionals in all corners of the world.
I would like to further highlight the importance of EDOs in securing FDI in my home state of Virginia. We have more than 700 internationally owned companies, including Canon and Rolls-Royce. And since 2014, more than 160 economic development deals have been closed in Virginia that will create more than 13,806 jobs and over $4.2 billion in capital investment. Our EDOs are also making a strong play for Chinese investment. Last year, Shandong Tranlin Paper Co., Ltd., a Chinese paper manufacturer, announced plans to invest $2 billion with a pledge to create 2,000 jobs to establish its first U.S. advanced manufacturing operation in Chesterfield County. This investment represents the largest one of Chinese greenfield project in Virginia and the United States.
I would like to extend a very warm thank you to Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Under Secretary of Commerce Stefan M. Selig and the Executive Director of SelectUSA Vinai Thummalapally for their leadership, remarkable work with the business community, their investment promotion labours and their acclaimed efforts in expanding growth and opportunity for all Americans. My best wishes to all attendees for a great Summit.