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The sixth annual SelectUSA Investment Summit, hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce, was held in Washington, D.C., from June 10-12. This event brings together foreign investors, economic development organizations from around the country, government leaders and C-suite business executives, all to promote and facilitate foreign direct investment in the United States. The 2019 Summit also, for the first time, welcomed industry groups to participate in the conference, and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) attended and represented the real estate industry.

More than 3,000 participants attended the 2019 Summit, including foreign investors from 79 international markets and economic development organizations from 49 states and territories. The Summit features many networking opportunities, including “matchmaking” sessions between international companies and key participants, based on their companies’ needs. Investors could mingle with tech startups, state and local government representatives, trade associations and executives from companies including Siemens, Royal Dutch Shell and Intel.

Throughout the Summit, speakers and events highlighted the diverse economic and trade benefits of investing in the U.S. There were several “State of the Industry” sessions featuring experts from various industries—including solar and wind energy, chemistry, consumer technology, travel and tourism, and real estate. Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist and senior vice president of Research, presented the “State of the Industry: Real Estate” to a packed room of interested investors. He spoke about market trends in real estate—both residential and commercial—and highlighted NAR’s robust research products. Though it was only one of the many industry sectors represented at the Summit, real estate was a hot topic, as well as a through-line connecting several issues that were addressed, such as infrastructure investment, rural development, manufacturing, and many others. For these international companies to come to the U.S., or expand their existing operations here, they may need land, offices or factories—in addition to housing for their workforces.

The Summit drew several notable speakers, including Wilbur Ross, secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce; Ben Carson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Larry Kudlow, assistant to the president for Economic Policy and director of the National Economic Council; and Steven Mnuchin, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Across the board, the theme was clear: The Administration, and the International Trade Administration (ITA) (a part of the Department of Commerce), are committed to bringing more foreign direct investment into the U.S., and stressed that the economy and trade conditions are positive for that right now. This includes not just attracting new investment, but also bringing operations back to the U.S. and expanding existing operations, which is the goal of the “ReSelectUSA” initiative run by the ITA. In that vein, SelectUSA released its case study report on reshoring in the U.S. during the Summit: “Reinvesting in the USA: A Case Study of Reshoring and Expanding in the United States.”

The 2019 Summit was a success; nearly $100 million in new investment projects was announced during the event, and more than 65 international companies signed the “Pledge to America’s Workers,” committing to creating more than 900,000 workforce development opportunities for American workers. These 2019 additions build upon the $103.6 billion in investment projects that past participants in the Summit have announced within five years of attending the Summit, which will create or retain over 167,000 American jobs. The Summit provides an excellent chance for real estate professionals looking to connect with foreign investors and other industry sectors, and the potential to result in new deals and lucrative business opportunities.

For more information on the SelectUSA Investment Summit, please visit www.selectusasummit.us.

Erin Stackley, Esq., is the senior representative for Commercial Legislative Policy/Federal Policy and Industry Relations, the National Association of REALTORS®. This column is brought to you by the NAR Real Estate Services group. For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

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