Press-Republican

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October 8, 2012

Foreign direct investment a key to regional success

Expert: Clinton County can attract international investment

PLATTSBURGH — The ability to attract foreign direct investment can be crucial to a region’s economic success, and Clinton County has a number of factors in its favor.

That was the message from CAI Global Group Vice President Marc Beauchamp during his recent lecture, Foreign Direct investment — An Economic Game Changer for the North Country, part of the Clinton Community College — The Development Corp. lecture series. 

His firm has more than 25 years in consuwlting services for investments, site selection and business strategies.

Multinational corporations account for 25 percent of the global gross domestic product, about $16 trillion, Beauchamp said. U.S. subsidiaries of those firms spend an average of $43.4 billion on research and development a year and reinvest about $93.6 billion a year in their U.S. operations. Those subsidiaries account for 17 percent of American manufacturing jobs, he said.

VALUE PROPOSITION

The U.S. share of foreign direct investment has shifted from about 45 percent in the 1980s to 25 percent in the 1990s to about 15 percent at present. That’s because other countries continue to develop their economy, which makes them more attractive for investment, Beauchamp said.

Many foreign companies are starting to look at once again investing in U.S. operations, he said. 

“There are reasons why these companies now invest in the U.S.”

The wage gap between U.S. and foreign labor, although still substantial, is expected to shrink in the coming years, Beauchamp said. Rising transport costs further reduce the advantage of manufacturing overseas.

An area needs to build its “value proposition,” he said, the things that make it attractive to a foreign investor.

“You have to make sure you present a complete picture of what you have to offer,” Beauchamp said. “This is now a global competition.”

MAJOR COMPANIES

Clinton County has a number of things that make it attractive to foreign investors, he said. That includes easy access to Canada, educational institutions such as Clinton Community College and SUNY Plattsburgh, rail and highway access, workforce availability, strong business incentives and investment readiness.

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