By Arun Kumar, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and Director General of the US and Foreign Commercial Service
This is a great time to invest in American manufacturing. Yesterday, AT Kearney announced that the United States ranked first for the fourth year running in its annual Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index. Last week, President Barack Obama and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker led the largest ever U.S. delegation to Hannover Messe, the world’s leading industrial manufacturing trade fair. As of April 1, the manufacturing sector has added 838,000 jobs during the past 73 months. And today, SATA USA has announced that it will create more jobs in Brownsville, Texas to add to that number.
I was thrilled to personally congratulate Brownsville and thank SATA USA’s president, Pietro Cinotto, when he announced that the company would invest $114 million in a machining operation that will create 300 jobs over a 10-year period. This investment demonstrates the continued competitiveness of American manufacturing, the role of foreign direct investment (FDI) in job creation, and the benefits of our commercial relationship with Mexico.
SATA Group is a family-owned business headquartered in Valperga, Italy. Founded more than a century ago, this will be its first manufacturing facility in North America. Roughly 12 million jobs across the country are attributable to FDI, and 124,700 U.S. workers are directly employed by the U.S. affiliates of Italian-owned firms. In 2013, European companies like SATA exported $204 billion worth of goods from the United States.
Supplying both the automotive industry and the heavy equipment manufacturing sector, SATA USA expects to export many of its products, adding to the $1.5 billion worth of goods that cross our border with Mexico each day. In August 2015, Secretary Pritzker was joined by her Mexican counterparts to inaugurate the West Rail Bypass International Bridge in Brownsville – the first new international rail crossing between the U.S. and Mexico in 105 years – which is making it easier for companies based in the United States to reach customers in Mexico.
We first learned about SATA’s interest in the United States a couple of years ago, when our SelectUSA team was invited to a meeting in Congressman Filemon Vela’s office with Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez and Jason Hilts, head of the Brownsville Economic Development Council (BEDC). They wanted to brief SelectUSA on a potential investment project, codenamed “Project Sizzle,” and to request our assistance.
SelectUSA is the federal government program to promote and facilitate job-creating FDI into the United States. Working with colleagues throughout the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, SelectUSA assists U.S. economic development organizations like BEDC and foreign companies like SATA Group that are considering expanding or establishing operations in the United States.
Working closely with Brownsville and the U.S. Commercial Service in Italy, our team coordinated advocacy efforts by SelectUSA Executive Director Vinai Thummalapally, U.S. Ambassador to Italy John Phillips, and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. Through this process, we have had the pleasure of witnessing how hard the BEDC team worked to make the case for Brownsville, bringing together stakeholders from the local community, the university and community college systems, and the State of Texas. SATA considered Brownsville’s connectivity, access to raw materials, growing supplier base, and availability of labor when deciding whether to locate in the United States.
The new facility will serve as an anchor for the planned North Brownsville Heavy Manufacturing Campus, which is an ambitious 350-acre development that will integrate private enterprise, the public sector, the university system, and community college/technical training facilities.
Congratulations and best wishes to the teams in Brownsville and Valperga. We look forward to your success, and to seeing BEDC at the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit in June!
Resources: Brownsville Economic Development Council’s press release is available on their website. An article that details SelectUSA’s involvement is available at the Rio Grande Guardian. To learn how SelectUSA can help your community to attract international investment or assist your company to establish or expand in the United States, visit www.SelectUSA.gov.