Greenfield Foreign Investment in US Continues to Collapse

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The United States has a mediocre way grounds of attracting planetary investors, with foreign investments to caller facilities having fallen sharply implicit the past fewer decades.

The worth of greenfield overseas nonstop investments (FDI) comparative to the size of the U.S. system has dropped by 96 percent since the 1990s, according to a caller analysis from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a exertion deliberation tank. Greenfield FDIs are overseas investments successful recently constructed oregon expanded facilities.

While overseas concern successful the United States has rebounded successful 2021, the concern is not arsenic agleam arsenic it looks, according to Ian Clay, probe adjunct astatine the ITIF.

“The stock of FDI going to caller oregon expanded facilities successful the United States continues to shrink,” helium wrote successful a caller report. “Foreign companies look consenting to acquisition existing U.S. institution assets but not precise consenting to physique caller facilities oregon grow existing ones successful the United States.”

In 2021, the wide worth of greenfield expenditures was conscionable $3.4 billion, oregon 0.01 percent of U.S. gross home product.

The sluggish concern successful caller infrastructure, successful Clay’s opinion, disproves the conception that the United States is simply a magnet for overseas investment.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has reported that FDI flows to the United States recovered successful 2021 aft seeing a crisp diminution since 2018. Foreign concern accrued to $333.6 billion, up from $141.4 cardinal successful 2020.

However, acquisitions—the purchases of established U.S. businesses—were mostly liable for this rebound. And the industries that benefited the astir from overseas acquisitions past twelvemonth were pharmaceuticals; existent estate; and professional, scientific, and method services.

The BEA divides FDI into 3 groups: acquisition, establishment, and expansion. Establishment and enlargement are considered greenfield expenditures, which are much desirable.

The ITIF says that greenfield investments are nonstop investments successful the productive capacities of the receiving economy. Acquisition, connected the different hand, lone involves transferring ownership to a overseas entity. Hence, greenfield investments are the astir important and charismatic ones for countries.

In 2021, greenfield expenditures accounted for lone 1 percent of the FDI flows to the United States, portion acquisitions accounted for the remaining 99 percent.

Some observers accidental the U.S. authorities is not doing capable to promote greenfield concern astatine a clip erstwhile galore planetary corporations are considering leaving China.

A caller survey by QIMA, a prime power and compliance work provider, recovered that planetary companies’ efforts to trim their reliance connected China continue, peculiarly successful the aftermath of the 2022 COVID-19 related lockdowns imposed by the Chinese regime, which caused superior proviso concatenation disruptions.

However, it appears that the United States is not benefiting from this exodus.

R&D Incentives

According to the ITIF, greenfield FDI flows to the United States are not recovering since they are heavy reliant connected R&D incentives and different generous policies for superior expenditures.

“R&D incentives comparative to different countries has truly taken a deed successful caller decades,” Clay told The Epoch Times,

He added that the United States was beneath the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) mean successful the authorities taxation alleviation for concern R&D.

“On apical of that, our superior allowances are overmuch little generous compared to different countries competing for the FDI than they were successful erstwhile decades.”

A superior allowance is the magnitude of superior concern expenses that a institution tin deduct from its income done depreciation.

Governments passim the satellite are progressively relying connected these incentives to beforehand greenfield investments and promote innovation.

A caller Tax Foundation survey (pdf) shows that the United States ranks 21st successful presumption of mean of superior allowance among the OECD’s 38 members. The U.S. taxation codification permits businesses to recover 67.7 percent of capital investment costs connected average, compared to the OECD mean of 70.7 percent. More specifically, the United States ranks 32nd successful superior allowances for buildings and 34th for intangible assets.

It ranks 3rd successful superior allowances for machinery acknowledgment to the afloat expensing proviso of 2017 taxation reform. The provision, however, volition statesman phasing retired this year and volition beryllium eliminated by 2026.

According to ITIF, Congress should admit this shortcoming and absorption connected boosting greenfield investment.

Congress precocious passed authorities dubbed the Chips and Science Act, which provides incentives to boost home semiconductor manufacturing successful America. According to Clay, the 25 percent concern taxation recognition for investments successful spot manufacturing included successful the measure volition incentivize reshoring to the United States.

Such incentives, helium believes, volition go much communal successful the aboriginal to beforehand U.S. competitiveness.

Emel Akan


Emel Akan writes astir concern and economics. Previously she worked successful the fiscal assemblage arsenic an concern banker astatine JPMorgan. She graduated with a master’s grade successful concern medication from Georgetown University.