This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy. This is a guest blog by Vinai Thummalapally, Executive Director of SelectUSA.
Last month, I had the privilege of attending the SelectUSA Japan Road Show. My colleagues and I traveled to Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka, meeting with investors and promoting the United States as the best place in the world to do business every step of the way. I saw firsthand the excitement and enthusiasm that Japanese business leaders and investors had for U.S. investment opportunities.
The United States and Japan have one of the strongest economic and trade partnerships in the world. In fact, Japan is the second largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States with more than $374.7 billion in FDI stock (nearly 13 percent of the total in 2014). In 2013 alone, Japan-sourced FDI contributed more to U.S. goods exports and research and development (R&D) spending than any other market. To be exact, Japanese FDI accounted for $69.3 billion of U.S. goods exports and more than $7.5 billion of R&D spending.
At the signing ceremony of the SelectUSA-Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Memorandum of Intent (MOI), both Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and JETRO Chairman and CEO Hiroyuki Ishige noted that in order to invigorate bilateral investment between the United States and Japan across industry sectors, it is necessary for Japanese small and medium enterprises to proactively take advantage of new and emerging business opportunities in the United States. Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), these opportunities would increase.
This sentiment was reflected throughout the rest of my trip as we traveled south signing two additional MOIs with the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry along the way. Enhancing the strong bilateral investment relationship between our two nations is a priority of SelectUSA. We put that priority into action as we engaged with more than 500 Road Show participants, briefing them on the benefits and opportunities of investing in the United States. Nineteen U.S. economic development organizations (EDOs) were featured during the Road Show. Their representatives were met with heightened attention and questions from investors curious about their regions.
I am excited and heartened by this visit to Japan because of the renewed energy and spirit that defines the U.S.-Japan commercial relationship. Thanks to all of our partners in Japan for contributing so much to our continued partnership! SelectUSA, housed within the International Trade Administration, is dedicated to promoting FDI into the United States by working with foreign firms and U.S. EDOs. The upcoming 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit will provide the perfect opportunities to forge new and deeper economic partnerships from around the world when we convene in June.