More foreign investment wanted

An investor walks by the board at the Frankfurt stock exchange.

Jeremy Hobson: Today President Obama will be in Pittsburgh, pushing again for Congress to pass
his $447 billion job creation bill. The chances of that are slim, so the President is also laying out a series of policies to boost foreign investment in the U.S.

To the tune of a trillion dollars, as Marketplace's David Gura reports.


David Gura: This is no small goal. Nancy McLernon heads the Organization for International Investment. She represents U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies.

Nancy McLernon: They're going to have to work to achieve it.

About a decade ago, the U.S. attracted more than 40 percent of all foreign direct investment. Today, it's about half that. And the reason? According to some economists, it's because of surging growth in emerging markets, crumbling U.S. infrastructure and an education system that can't compete.

Still, there is a reason to invest here.

Gordon Hanson: It's having low-cost access to the U.S. market.

Gordon Hanson teaches economics at U.C. San Diego. He says foreign businesses open shop in the U.S. to be closer to their customers, and upstart companies in emerging markets will want to expand.

Hanson: They're going to want to have presence in other markets, and the U.S. is a place you just have to be.

But the Obama administration can only do so much. One big barrier to foreign investment -- the corporate tax code -- can't be changed without Congress.

In Washington, I'm David Gura for Marketplace.

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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