MacroScope

Is U.S. economic patriotism hurting?

Any Americans believing that their country is being bought up by the Chinese might want to pay heed to a new report from the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment. It says that China is a minimal player in terms of foreign direct investment in the United States and that Washington should in fact be doing a lot  more to get it to gear up its buying.

To start with, look at the magic number.  In 2010, the last year for which numbers are available, only 0.25 percent of FDI into the Untied States came from China.  Switzerland, Britain,  Japan, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,  Canada were all far bigger. In the U.S. Department of Commerce’s report on the year, China, numbers were so small they were lumped into a category simply called  ”others”.

This is not enough, the Vale Columbia report says. Given China’s burgeoning economic role across the globe, America can benefit from a lot:

First, FDI provides an influx of capital into the struggling economy, increasing employment at no cost to the taxpayer. Second, jobs in foreign affiliates are typically better remunerated than similar jobs in domestically owned companies. Third, keeping the US open to foreign investment demonstrates a global example for international openness. Finally, Chinese money refused by the U.S. could alternatively be directed to competitors or even the U.S.’s enemies.

(On the latter point, its worth reading our global economic correspondent Alan Wheatley’s story on China’s influence in Europe)

Time to promote the EU?

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Member states of the European Union like to think of themselves as partners, sharing in a common future. But when it comes to business, things tend to go by the board. Consider, for example, the scramble to outdo each other in attracting  investment from outside the bloc.

Jose Guimon, a lecturer in international economics at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, reckons this should change. In a new paper for the Vale Columbia Centre on Sustainable International Investment, Guimon says it is time for an EU Investment Promotion Agency.

What he has in mind is something along the lines of  Invest in America, the U.S. government’s attempt to coordinate promotion of the United States as a desitination for foreign direct investment.