On June 19, 2016, Jennifer Grady, Esq. spoke to over 350 attendees at the SelectUSA Summit Academy, a precursor to the SelectUSA Investment Summit the following day. The Summit Academy is an orientation for participants from companies, state and local governments, and economic development organizations (EDOs) to provide information and practical tips on topics such as regulations and investment incentives, investor visas, and analytical tools to better understand current foreign direct investment (FDI) and reshoring trends.
The SelectUSA Investment Summit is the highest-profile event in the world dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. This signature event provides an unparalleled opportunity to bring together companies from all over the globe, economic development organizations from every corner of the nation, and other parties working to facilitate business investment in the United States. Featuring senior government officials, C-Suite business executives, and other thought leaders, each summit focuses on a timely theme related to the U.S. investment environment, industry trends, and new opportunities.
As part of the “Investor Track,” Ms. Grady and her fellow panelists, Mario de Castro, Ron Palladino, and Rahul Beri, and moderator John McKiel, spoke to a sold-out academy about tax, visa, and banking tips for foreign entrepreneurs and investors. The panelists also provided “best practices” advice to help guide the audience through the process of establishing a business in the United States. Mr. Beri provide a real-world example of the success he had with expanding his business, Teknol to the state of New York.
During the panel, Ms. Grady spoke about the visa options that are available for investors, entrepreneurs, and employees, and provided tips on how to find a US attorney, including which questions to ask, and how to compare work product from service providers. She also provided valuable tips on how to file a successful visa application with USCIS.
The Investor Academy concluded with a speech by Idaho Governor, Butch Otter, who provided a case study about Idaho’s success in building a $450 million, 200-acre Chobani yogurt factory in the state in only 11 months. Chobani was founded by a Kurdish farmer from Turkey who moved to the United States to study English and created the #1 selling strained yogurt brand in the United States
Following the pre-Summit Academy, Ms. Grady met with dozens of international and domestic companies seeking to establish or expand operations in the United States. Economic developers from across the state, regional and local levels were also in attendance. President Barack Obama gave the keynote address at the event, and Secretary of State John Kerry delivered the concluding remarks. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker also delivered an address to an audience of 2,400 EDOs, investors, service providers, and government officials.
On Monday, President Barack Obama delivered the keynote address to a sold-out crowd at the Washington Hilton. He reminded the audience that now is the best time to own and business in the United States:
“And one of the things that I remind young people, just to offer them a little bit of perspective, is that no matter how grim the news sometimes seems, no matter how extraordinary the challenges that humanity or America seems to be facing at any given moment, if you had to choose a moment in human history in which to be born, and you didn’t know ahead of time who you were going to be –- what your nationality was, or your gender, or race, or class -– if you had to pick one moment in history that gave you the best chance to succeed, you would choose right now. You would choose this moment, when the world is wealthier, better educated, more open, more tolerant, more connected than it has ever been at any time in human history. Less violent. Less driven by division. You’d choose today.
And as I think about what you’re doing here in this hall, I’d add a corollary to that observation. If you could choose any place and time to invest your business’s precious resources, I believe you’d choose right here, right now. (Applause.) If you choose a place to expand your portfolio, to place your bets, to open up a plant, to start building the next great new business or service, you would select the USA -– because nowhere in the world and never in history has there been a better place to grow your business.” Click here for the full transcript of President Obama’s speech.
In addition to the keynote address, speakers on the Investment Summit panels included business leaders from companies such as ABB, Lockheed Martin, McKinsey & Company, Rolls-Royce, EY, Wanxiang, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, and TOTO. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe also took the stage, along with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, and Mr. Jeffrey Zients, Director of the National Economic Council.
At the closing luncheon on Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew; Ambassador Michael Froman, U.S. Trade Representative; Congressman Steny Hoyer; and Secretary of State John Kerry provided final thoughts on investing in the U.S.
Next year’s Investment Summit will be held in Washington, D.C. in June 2017.