For multinational companies that have been eyeing initial U.S. investments or considering expansion of their existing presence in the U.S., a variety of economic and policy developments make this an ideal time to consider executing on those investment plans.
Most importantly, the U.S. economy has been accelerating and is poised to continue its strong growth during 2018. The unemployment rate has slid under pre-recession levels and, on an annual basis, finished last year at the lowest mark since 2000. In addition, the broadest measure of economic output – gross domestic product (GDP) – has been trending around 3 percent for the past few quarters. Manufacturers, distributors, and companies across industries are benefiting from this rising growth.
Government officials at the federal, state, and local levels are not content to sit back and seek to aid the acceleration of economic growth. They are continuing to retool workforce training and implement skills initiatives to ensure companies can find the talent they need. In addition, lawmakers in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures are examining important infrastructure needs, working toward fixes that in some areas are long overdue.
The recent federal tax overhaul has brought the corporate rate in the U.S. down to much more competitive levels with other industrialized countries. State and local governments are compounding the benefits, using aggressive policies to incentivize companies that are investing in technology and equipment, creating jobs, and building or expanding new facilities.
Uncertainty still remains around the future of U.S. trade policy; however, with a federal administration that seems to favor imposing import tariffs, renegotiating existing agreements, and seeking to establish new bilateral trade arrangements, many multinationals are pursuing the prospect of investing heavily in the U.S. economy to better prepare for a market that favors U.S. based companies, both domestically and internationally owned. Most of these companies would much rather be on the inside looking out if big changes result from new policies and trade discussions – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a 24-year-old trade deal with Canada and Mexico, being among them.
If there was ever a time to consider both direct and passive investments in the U.S., multinational businesses and investors may find that the conditions are ripe to launch such U.S. projects now.
*Sam C. Moses leads the Manufacturing & Distribution industry team of Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.